Amman’s Built Environment by Ian James

by tuftsigl
Jul 31

I arrived in Amman six months ago as a student in a study abroad program. During my semester in Jordan, I was able to explore different parts of the city, improve my Arabic, and make friends at the University of Jordan. I quickly decided, however, that I wanted to stay beyond my four-month program. I felt that there was still so much for me to see and learn in Amman, and I was unsure when I would have another opportunity to live in the city. I applied to some very different internships, before being offered a summer position with the Center for the Study of the Built Environment. The opportunity excited me, because I felt that I would have another window into Amman further for my job. With the help of the IGL, I found an apartment in the city and accepted the position.

Two months later, I feel that I made a good decision. At work, I have several research projects, each of which challenges me in a different way. Using a collection of academic articles and source documents, I have written a history of Amman’s two most recent master plans. Walking the streets of Jabal al-Weibdeh, I have collected data to make a rough map of walkability in the area. Interviewing residents, I have learned about life in Jabal Amman ten years after a major pedestrian rehabilitation project. Now, with only two weeks of work left, these projects and my time in Amman are coming to an end. I wish it could continue longer. Revising the article, enriching the map with commentary and photos, and writing up my conversations will take most of my time at work.

I live in an apartment with some new friends, and a dog named Albi. After work, I have time to go to cafes, new restaurants, and Arabic lessons. I have been able to spend more time with the students I met at the University of Jordan, and I feel even more comfortable in Amman than I did at the end of my program.

Coming to terms with leaving this city will take up most of my time outside of it.

Finally, I will take this opportunity to thank the students, coworkers, teachers and friends that I have learned so much from.