Amman, Jordan | Sustainable Improvement Strategies for Lower Income Urban Communities

Ford Foundation, UNICEF, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 1992 In collaboration with the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) in Jordan, CUDS undertook an evaluation of two squatter settlement upgrading projects. The assessment focused on determining the potential for empowering lower income households to improve their economic condition and living environment through the provision of appropriate infrastructure services. CUDS recommended changes in design standards, participatory planning, credit finance, and management of improvements to structure social, economic, and physical frameworks that would enhance the development potential of marginalized communities. The evaluation was undertaken in two phases:  first, an assessment of past projects, and, second, the integration of findings into new operational strategies, starting with the HUDC projects in Aqaba.  Phase 1 assessed two upgrading projects in East Wahdat and Jofeh.  Using a combination of social and physical surveys to document changes that had occurred since the projects were undertaken in the early 1980s, the team studied the impacts of growth, the adequacy of the development standards applied, the needs of children and youth, and the role of public space in maintaining community vitality.  Capacity building and training were integrated into the assessment exercise, including methods for developing new survey instruments, geographical information systems, photographic documentation, and site assessment techniques involving community groups. Phase II of the project, carried out in Aqaba where HUDC has a large ongoing infrastructure upgrading program, reflected the level of current administrative decentralization in Jordan, with broader responsibility and authority at the local level and greater decision-making autonomy at the community level.  The study team conducted site visits, interviewed residents, community leaders, and local officials, and mobilized residents to participate in both the planning and the maintenance of improvements, in the process forging strong linkages between the community, the municipality, and the Aqaba Regional Authority, to promote sustainability.  The HUDC shifted its emphasis from larger neighborhood infrastructure upgrading projects to more flexible, proactive approaches targeting smaller communities. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) selected the upgrading of informal settlements in Aqaba as a demonstration case for community participation in upgrading projects. Back to Library