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Act now, or never!

Nov 14,2019 - Last updated at Nov 14,2019

Several things happen in Amman, as it being the capital and the centre of many attractions. But two major things, among others, are happening to it at the moment.

The first is population expansion at an accelerated pace. The second is an expansion of housing units and commercial complexes, also at an accelerated pace.

Regarding population, Amman grew from 1 million inhabitants in 1990, to more than 4 million at this point in time.

This substantial growth, which puts a lot of pressure on the city’s infrastructure and ecology, is largely due to periodic waves of immigration to the city from both the countryside and other cities within the country for job and economic opportunities, as well as from the wider region and beyond largely due to instability and violence in surrounding countries.

Regarding the increase in buildings, Amman is also expanding in all directions, for the purpose of fulfilling the housing and business needs of the increasing population.

While a few decades ago it was nestled on 7 hills, like Rome; Amman presently encompasses more than 70 hills and plateaus.

Perhaps we have little or no control over population growth, as Jordan always opens its arms to anyone seeking refuge, out of humane and humanitarian considerations.

And this is something that Jordan prides itself on, and something that we Jordanians are proud of.

But growth of construction is something that should be controlled, or at least organised upon sound ecological principles.

While the institutions concerned do enforce strict building codes and specifications, they do not seem to exercise enough effort in terms of urban planning, landscaping and zoning.

Amman, aside from a few exceptions here and there, is beginning to look like a huge bundle of rocks, stones and concrete.

What is lacking is adequate breathing space for the inhabitants.

There is, in fact, a clear shortage of public gardens and parks, in particular.

Most of what is “green” in the city is planted by the residents of Amman, on sidewalks and in their private small gardens.

Aside from one relatively large park, the Hussein Gardens, and a few smaller gardens to be found within residential areas here and there, there is hardly any space suitable for people’s outings, recreation and sport activities.

This is why when the weather is good, you see people parked, barbecuing, smoking hubbly-bubbly or playing on sidewalks or those thin strips of land adjacent to major roads and highways.

Much has been written and said about the subject, to little or no avail.

As there are still some spaces left intact within the city and just outside, it is high time that the concerned authorities pull their act together and provide more parks, gardens and breathing spaces.

In today’s world, where a lot of people spend most of their time either on chairs in offices or behind the wheels in their cars, there is a dire need for people to walk, hike, jog or sit and relax on a bench or under a tree in a decent public garden or park.

Cities are not just housing units, commercial complexes and malls.

Each and every decent major city in the world has enough ample breathing spaces for its residents in which they have the option to  congregate to exercise or socialise.

Amman should be no exception, and there is a window of opportunity still left to remedy the situation, before the few existing spaces are soon filled with more stones and more concrete.

Act now, or never.

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