East Wahdat Upgrade: Model for other regeneration plans
East Wahdat Upgrade: Model for other regeneration plan
“a sophisticated financial linkage of new and old projects, quick implementation, high-level integration of technical and social concerns, a strong programme of cost-recovery. In fact, the programme was successful and established the standard model of intervention for the following projects.” (Informal Settlement Upgrading: The Demand for Capacity Building in Six Pilot Cities – Amman, Ankara, Caracas, Concepción, Ibadan and Nkayi (HABITAT, 1999, 334 p.))
The East Wahdat Upgrade plan was completed in 1984 , after two years of intense infrastructural construction and revitalization of the community (Hasan, 1989). The ideas of respecting the informal settlement and original urban fabric, well designed financial model to make the plan more affordable and the construction of a well-equipped community have been featured as the key factors of a successful urban regeneration in Amman. After the unprecedented success of the East Wahdat Plan by relocating thousands of refugee to the community with much more decent housing, it becomes the model of regeneration plan in Amman. It was the UDP 1 in which the first project done by the Urban Development Department and the World Bank. After this plan, there are a series of urban plannings in nearby region follows similar model of the East Wahdat Upgrade (Habitat, 1999).
Al Mahatta was the first plan after the East Wahdat. Even thought he plan was planned to be a smaller scale, the sensitivity of having comprehensive utilities and communal services were inherited from East Wahdat plan. The plan was a partial demolishing plan with adequate new infrastructural services. There was a step forward by looking closer into the issue of ownership, since the East Wahdat plan had a number of parasite housing or sub-divided plots in which the ownership was unclear. The Al Mahatta plan was planned to have a stronger stand on regularizing the ownership status regardless of the heavy political debate hidden in this issue. The plan was ended up to be very similar to the East Wahdat one, since the authority(UDD and the Great Amman Municipality) gave up in dealing with the issue of ownership at the end. Despite of the unachieved parts, the plan was a success in terms of providing decent and affordable housing to the immigrants from the Palestine.
After the gulf war in the 1990s, there was another wave of influx of refugee from Iraq and Iran. The UDD and Hosing authority of the Jordanian Government commenced another regeneration project in 1995 based on the model of East Wahdat. This time the plan was carried with even greater attention to the economic support to the inhabitant. The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has been fully funding the project for the very first time, even though they were also consulting other local and foreign institutions. They tried to allocate new plots to the existing inhabitant , despite of the original legitimacy in terms of land ownership. The plan was commented as a half -success as in part of the tenants failed to get a loan form the bank due to the absence of guarantee and the relatively higher cost for land lease. However, the idea of regenerate the settlement with respect to the existing fabric and the sensitivity of building communal facilities were still deep rooted in the plan. These were the legacy inherited from the East Wahdat plan, which is the first successful modern urban regeneration plan in Amman.
Habitat, 1999, Informal Settlement Upgrading: The Demand for Capacity Building in Six Pilot Cities – Amman, Ankara, Caracas, Concepción, Ibadan and Nkayi, 334 p.
World Bank, 1980, Jordan Urban Renewal Project Report
Lesile, Joylon , 1992， Technical Review Summary 1989: East Wahdat Upgrading Program, Aga Khan Architecture Award. The Aga Khan Award for Archtitecture.
Hasan, Arif. 1989. Technical Review Summary 1989: East Wahdat Upgrading Program, Aga Khan Architecture Award. The Aga Khan Award for Archtitecture.