The Second Amman City Conference: Sustainability, Participation and Urban Governance,

4 – 8 December 2011

King Hussein Cultural Center, Ras al-Ain, Amman

Al Urdun Al Jadid (New Jordan) Research Center (UJRC) with cooperation of Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) launched the Second Amman City Conference on 4 – 8 December 2011, at Al-Hussein Cultural Center, in Amman, Jordan. The event was attended by broad participation from political, social, economic and cultural perpetrators in Amman, as well as members, senior staff and department directors from the GAM.

The Conference was held under the patronage of Prime Minister Mr. Awn Al-Khasawneh, which bears slogans: sustainability, participation and urban governance. Representatives of social partners in Amman attended the ceremony, and included the government, GAM, private sector and civil society. The 5-day conference was an interactive event where participants contemplated about the city of Amman in the last two decades, and shed light on the city’s current state of affairs, thereby opening the door to explore the future, where participants expressed their commitment to the conference message that is to reach better livable Amman through prompting principals of good urban governance, sustainability, interactive democracy, popular participation, and shared social responsibility


In parallel to the conference proceedings, two exhibitions were launched following the conference opening ceremony on 4 December 2011. First exhibition entitled ‘Amman Historical Photography Exhibition’, which showcased early images of Amman’s social, economic and political life collected from local and international repositories and libraries. Second one, entitled ‘Amman Book Fair’, aimed at shedding the light on various publications that tackled the city of Amman from various perspectives, and during different epochs.

The conference consisted of five main themes. The first day dealt with the reality of Amman and its identity today as it compares to the city of two decades ago, focusing particularly on the development of the city and its people, facilities, the structure of Amman’s population and society with special focus on eliminating social classes among its dwellers and vicinity, character and heritage of the city, infrastructure and master plan of the city.

The second day dealt with issues related to Amman citizenship; four sessions tackled diversity management, role of civil society organization to activate the public, social responsibility initiatives which comprised of private sector presentations on their social initiatives in Amman, sustainability, booming of new public spheres on the web..

The conference third day focused on role of Amman partners in developing the city. Representative from GAM and activists talked about participation of women and youth in the public affairs of Amman, as well as ways of empowering women, youth, and vulnerable social groups in the city (children, people with special needs and elderly people). The third day concluded with an outlook to increase the city’s competitiveness on a broad scale, to keep pace with rapid developments at the regional and international levels.

The fourth day was about the cultural role of Amman, including the cultural message of the Greater Amman Municipality. The sessions talked about: impact of activities and city’s facilities that promote all cultural aspects to flourish, the relationship between culture and diversity of Amman, remembering Amman through using narratives and visual arts as windows into the past, and emphasizing historical figures and institutions back then. Also the sessions discussed: private sector initiatives, e.g, Philadelphia Hotel (1925) and the beginnings of hotel industry, the first Jordanian industrial institutions, represented by the Jordanian electricity company (1938), and, in addition to the history of Amman Chamber of Commerce since 1923. One of the presentations was about the most important piazza in the city, which was at that time ‘Faisal Square’ during the 1940s and 1950s.

The fifth and final day featured the future of Amman as a city. It included a special session on the city administration and different application of the principles of democratic, interactive urban governance. Other sessions were about towards greener city of Amman, in addition to other critical issue like access to sustainable public transportation system to service citizen.

The conference ended with a roundtable addressing challenges and opportunities that lie ahead on Amman prospect. The roundtable concluded with a wide range of recommendations, proposals and new ideas covering various areas of conference themes that reflected the diversity of attendees.

About 1,000 people took part in the deliberations of the 5-day conference. More than 70 work papers were presented, on different themes. And had a wide coverage from daily newspapers, and e-journalism, totaled 35,000 words, equivalent to 140 pages of A4, or 17 pages of the daily Gazette. At the same time, the daily deliberations of the Conference were covered by social media means, like Facebook, Twitter, and on UJRC and GAM websites respectively.

The final communiqué and recommendations

The conference called upon, and adopted the following issues:

1) Return to the original city borders of Amman before 2001, which had expanded in 2007, to a large extent during the last few years from 678km to 1680km. And, engage citizens and municipal bodies on any future decisions on the city limits.

2) Review the Master Plan of the city of Amman, through the adoption of a development strategy that is part of a national strategy for the whole Kingdom.

3) Eliminate economic and cultural disparities between East and West Amman. And, standardize Amman society into one community.

4) Fostering a robust strategy of urban growth for the city that will make use of the unexploited spaces and reduce the excessive expansion of the city, thereby, maximizing utilization of existing infrastructure, and double green and public spaces.

5) Fostering traffic projects, through the improvement and expansion of proper sidewalks in the city.

6) The adoption of effective public transportation system that will eliminate the number of private vehicles; and ultimately, limit the ratios of environmentally harmful emissions.

7) Allow decentralization and participatory management of the city; in which the municipality will to assume the responsibilities of planning, legislation and implementation of major projects, along with smaller autonomous, elected municipalities.

8) Organize direct election for the post of Amman Mayor, and all members of the Municipality Council.

9) Reconsider the system of representation in Amman municipality,
in a way that will guarantee the representation of Amman regions through open, direct elections.

10) Establish independent municipalities from Greater Amman areas, where its councils are directly selected from the people in the region. And, demanded that municipal councils have representatives in Amman Municipal Council, and to reserve share for women in the municipal councils, by at least one third, through the allocation of seats (quota).

11) Establish institutional relations between Amman Municipality and its citizens through citizen participation in municipal decisions, that will enhance transparency and flow of information between the municipality and citizens.

12) Explore citizens’ views about the degree of satisfaction with the municipality services.

13) Carry out an assessment to evaluate the impact of the municipality projects.

14) Empowerment of marginalized groups i.e. children, women, and special needs through engaging them in training and rehabilitation opportunities, as they are part and parcel of the Jordanian society.

15) Restore full powers of the municipalities, including Amman.

16) Promote autonomous municipalities; and engage citizens in all processes related to their municipalities.

17) Create an urban forum for discussion, of strategic planning issues, and development of urban and regional planning culture; which allows representatives of various sectors of society, to participate in all matters of metropolitan life.

18) Emphases on Amman characteristics, as a city of pluralism and diversity, through writing “the story of Amman” as city of multiple voices and visions. The stories told by its diverse groups and individuals who fled because of major vigorous events in their native countries, to the serenity of Amman, Jordan, away from revolutions. In another words, recounts of Amman history through long narration of diversity and changes that fed the memory and kept it alive.

19) To explore architectural landmarks of the city of Amman that distinguish and symbolize it from other cities.

20) Adopt green urban policies to guide the city future policies and laws, associated to land tenure and licensing, quality control, water conservancy, energy, and encourage businesses to invest in renewable energy, and conserving energy and water consumption.

21) Promote the identity of Amman, as a city of cultural diversity heritage, and source of all origins. A city holds memory, history and diverse humanitarian sources that should be preserved and celebrated as a collective work of several generations.

22) Call upon GAM to promote the cultural character of Amman, improving the quality of cultural services, and build partnerships with cultural institutions in various fields of art, which will influence positively on citizens’ values and attitudes,.

23) Promote the city of Amman as hospitable educational city that provides information about educational facilities, opportunities, sources offered for native and abroad students through libraries, maps and websites…etc.
For the Agenda please   click here , and for more information about speakers and papers presented in the conference you can contact us by phone or email.