Friday, 14 November 2008

on Greater Amman Municipality Website : Neighborhood Parks and Community Facilities

I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I wanted to introduce this idea;

Neighborhood Parks and Community Facilities are two different terms
what do we mean by those and why do we need them?

A Neighborhood Park is an open facility for community that would be in the range of 1- 2 dunums (2000 square meters/ .2 Hectares) dedicated and set for neighborhoods that have high population densities and administered by the Municipality.

A Neighborhood Park is a simple open space and I need to stress on this integral idea, it doesn't have to be big or full of " 7ajar ", also, its not fragments of a street, its a one whole area dedicated for people who can't afford the space, established in a way to be near the areas they live in so they won't need to commute, hence called neighborhood park.

now in one Dunum land area in a neighborhood, what can you put on this land when it comes to design?

Any of those;

1- sand area with playground equipment on a "level" land for [ 3-6 ] years old children
2- picnic tables and benches under a fixed tent for sun protection
3- Basketball Court
4- Soccer Court
5- multipurpose field
5- Signs
5- Jog and exercise course
6- Green space, you can put ornamental trees, grass with efficient irrigation system, plant certain types of trees; we don't have problems with soil or weather in Jordan, but think green, no need for 7ajar.
7- swings ( when was the last time you adults were on a swing?)
8- parking

if Greater Amman Municipality is thinking of pavements inside the parks, this is a personal request, pleaase don't use what you used in Rainbow street, there is something called " concrete interlock pavements " which is awesome, flat, solid, pretty and easy to clean and maintain, you can walk and run in the park, I wish I can see parks where the width is enough to take four people standing side by side. as simple as this, wide flat and green.

Now lets think of where should these Parks be at, since they are not big in size, this is what needs to be done:

1- check out the neighborhoods in Amman, concentrate on east Amman first before beautifying west Amman

I was looking up online, I got to this map and it divides Amman into 27 areas and these areas respectively into neighborhoods. ( click on each area to see the neighborhoods)

after mapping the neighborhoods, determine the most dense, the poorest and

2 - suggest several small pieces of Land that belong to the government and are not developed and are close to highly populated areas

3- within the radius of 500 m surrounding each suggested land mark out the points where there are :

A- Schools
B - Mosques / Churches
C- Community Facilities
D- Libraries
E- Clubs

and then develop an understanding for the area needs and make a design for what you can put on the land for the youth and families of this area, hence the requirements while keeping in mind safety measures and standards and lets learn from Rainbow Street Example

4- since we have the land, the area, the requirements, hence we have an initial idea of what we want to do on this plot.

another fantastic tool is wikimapia for Amman, you will find hilarious information there. but on the other hand you can add information about areas that needs help as well, you can use it to map the less fortunate areas. Amman is big and there are places I personally never been to. so people lets widen the scope and think collectively and prioritize development to infrastructure so poor people can contribute and this comes through providing support to their day to day micro-communities experience.

so, whats the difference between a neighborhood park and a community facility?

its basically the area and the purpose.

community facilities are measured in hectars, ya3ni 5 dunum w tloo3, Hussein Gardens are considered community facility, and when it comes to the purpose of these facilities, its either; family gathering areas for picnics and BBQ, athele specific areas for workout with various kinds of courts, bcycle rentals, running track, children play area, space for Landscape displays; like fountains and ponds, public theatres, cultural display.

a decent example for a communit facility is Al-Safa Park - Dubai / Community Facility

as for Greater Amman Municipality Website , I was looking for the districts and then I went to Abdali Disrtict/public parks to look up public parks and I had to wonder how come they consider " sahat Paris " a public park? its a roundabout with cars arount it right?

Public Parks in Al Abdali


Queen Noor St.

Al Aqsa

Ismal Babouq St.

Bilal Bin Rabah Abdul Halim Al Nimr St.
Jordan Hospital Queen Noor St.


Abu Thor St.
Nawafeer Sukayna

Khalid Bin Al Walid St.

Princess Alia College Ahmad Bin Hanbal St.
Princess Haya Prince Shakir Bin Zeid St.
Sahat Paris Paris St.
Um Jordan St.
Youbil Yafa St.


Anonymous said...

and where are we suposed to get the water to create those green parks, it would be much easier and cheaper to put "7ajar" than to grow the kind of grass in the picture, it takes million of cubic meters of water a year to do that.

Tala said...

just to clear things out, when I included a photo of al safa park, it was just to make a distinction between neighborhood parks and community facilities like Hussein Gardens. I know we can't afford making something like al safa, we don't have the water. but there are always alternatives.

Personally I think the Municipality can afford 1 Dunum per District for Neighborhood Parks instead of focusing on closing areas and making it decorative walking zones and fighting over who owns the streets, whether it is the shop owners or the public, for example sweifieh, and gated malls and buildings.

now if we have the money to go for something as big as 6 hectares park (60 dunums), there is always a solution, there is something called waste water management that can be directed to irrigate public parks, there are lots of advanced controlled pumping mechanisms for irrigation and efficiency control, controlling soil moisture levels is another way, another alternative is that we can use " ba3li grown trees " since we do have four seasons and sweet soil, and you can as well apply a standard for maximum green to non-green ratio in every park. or even better, plant trees that the municipality can benefit from for " Muwazi Markets "

but to eliminate the necessity for public parks because we don't have water. nope, I have to disagree with you. if I was on the legislative part, I have all the power to decide how far I can go with an idea given what my resources are. there are always ways to be cost efficient.

among all the places I went in the UAE, I enjoyed my time best at the park, on a swing walking on a pavement where I felt my feet steady on the ground as long as I walked, some old people were talking and walking, other were jogging, others were just sitting and reading on the grass. you are free to use this space the way you like best.

again, it doesn't have to cost much, just an organized, simple, safe piece of land with tools for people to come and use.