“Amman was situated at the most underprivileged position due to the fluctuations and demands caused by the wars in the middle east. The context was flooded with complex social-political issues and highly affected by neighboring countries.  Lack of funding, underdeveloped infrastructure, extreme poverty and cultural conflicts have been the challenges for urban regeneration plan in the city. Unlike many other great cities in the world, there is no room for fanciness or inefficiency.  There is only one goal: to set up an economically sustainable urban upgrading model that would create a community of decent living. “

– Thomas Bing Him Lee


East Wahdat Upgrade/ Housing’s Response to Local Climate: Materiality and Architectural Desgin

Yeung Man Ki

Situated in the Middle East, Amman has a Mediterranean climate. During winter, there was huge daytime and nighttime temperature difference with occasional light snowfall. During summer, however, the weather was dry and the average temperature can go up to 32C. Facing such dramatic climate, effort was put into the design of the houses, in order ...

East Wahdat Upgrade: Model for other regeneration plans

Thomas Bing Him Lee

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 ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/Decentralized Planning: Local People Involvement in the design process

Yeung Man Ki

The East Wahdat Upgrading Programme is a project composed of the input from several parties. While it was sponsored by the World Bank in cooperation with the Jordan Urban Development Department, the planning did not adopt a completely top-down approach that would smother voices from the actual users. Instead, the two organizations provided the framework ...

East Wahdat Update: Self-help construction and financial aids

Thomas Bing Him Lee

East Wahdat Update: Self-help construction and financial aids  In every urban renewal projects cost has always been the most challenging issues for all the stakeholders involved. In many of the cases in the history, regeneration plan was funded by a rich and strong government or a few aristocrats at that period of time, for example Haussauman ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/Social Status of Women: Public facilities and institutions

Ho Sze Yin

As mentioned in the previous blog post, Amman is totally an Islamic World, no matter whether it is for the original ‘Jordanian-Jordanians’ or the’ Jordanian-Palestinian’ refugees. Therefore, the building of living space, which later became the urban area, has inherited the traditional customs and believes that a living space should be private, modest and hospitable, ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/ Improvement of Local Health: Water Supply and Public Sanitation

Ho Sze Yin

From a technical point of view, the most urgent problem to be solved in a slum area is usually the water supply and the sanitation problem, which also applies to the East Wahdat area. Fresh water supply and public sanitation has many benefits, but the most important of all was its contribution to a healthy ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/ Creation of Homes and Un-slumming: Materials and Construction Technologies

Ho Sze Yin

In the Islamic World, the choice of materials and construction technologies of houses reflects greatly to their concept of homes as private, modest, and hospitable places. Before the implementation of the East Wahdat Upgrading Plan, the area was congested with substandard corrugated iron sheds, with poor living condition and no access to modern basic facilities, ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/ Preservation of Cultural Identity: Islamic Architecture and Traditional Motifs

Ho Sze Yin

Though the upgrading plan of East Wahdat area was proposed by the World Bank with the assistance of a British firm, Halcrow Fox and Associates, as consultants, in which both of them shared similar Western backgrounds, the resulting plan for East Wahdat Upgrading Programme was surprisingly not of a Eurocentric design nor a rationalized grid ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/ Conflict of National Identity: Division of Jordanian-Jordanians and Jordanian-Palestinians

Ho Sze Yin

Prior to the implementation of the East Wahdat Upgrading Programme, the area of East Wahdat, which was at the margin of the city center of Amman, was already occupied by a large amount of informal settlements built by the Palestinian refugees, who fled into Amman after a series of wars and conflicts in their homeland. ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/ ‘Growth’ of Houses: Uncontrolled Transformation and Expansion

Yeung Man Ki

As mentioned in the earlier post, houses in the East Wahdat Upgrade project were designed to ‘grow’ throughout time in response to changes in the household sizes and income levels. Although the concept was successfully realized,expansions and transformation that were beyond the original design intention were observed as well. Initially, the maximum expansion height was 2 stories ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/ Looking Beyond the Existing: Houses with the Ability to ‘Grow’

Yeung Man Ki

One of the features emphasized by the Jordan Urban Development Department (UDD) at the introduction of the East Wahdat Upgrading Project was to implement a massive transformation in a ‘relatively short period’, in order to deal with the uncontrolled growth of informal settlements at the site (as cited in HABITAT, 1999). With the emphasis on ...

East Wahdat Upgrade/ Keeping the Existing: Minimum Demolishment and Utilization of Original Settlements

Yeung Man Ki

It was often believed that in order for a successful slum clearance, people needed to be reallocated to make way. In the 70s, Robert Moses stated clearly in one of his written response in 1974 that: ‘I raise my stein to the builder who can remove ghettos without moving people as I hail the chef who can make ...

East Wahdat Upgrade: Cultural respect through doorsteps

Thomas Bing Him Lee

East Wahdat Upgrade: Cultural Respect If we have looked into the fight between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses in mid 20th century about the urban regeneration plan of Manhattan, we will understand that the American held different positions in terms of how their city should be further developed. In that case, both the designer and the end ...

East Wahdat Upgrade: Rebuild the community through street interventions

Thomas Bing Him Lee

East Wahdat Upgrade: Rebuild the Community “East Wahdat was the most underdeveloped region in Amman” Jolyon Lesile commented on the community and site context of the upgrading program in his Technical Review 1992, Aga Khan Architectural Award. It is crystal clear that the region was going through very devastating conditions during the first two influx of refugee. Located at ...

East Wahdat Upgrade : Economically sustainable model of urban regeneration

Thomas Bing Him Lee

East Wahdat Upgrade: Economically sustainable model of urban regeneration From Haussmann’s Paris plan to Robert Moses’ Manhattan plan, we have been used to seeing fancy and idealistic urban regeneration plans that could bring new dynamic urban experience to a city.  Many of the debates on these plan focus on its social- political impact or issue of ...


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