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April 7-8 th


Public Space and Public Life: Delivering Prosperous and healthy Places Amman 2015, between 9-12 April, 2015 International Students' Competition and Workshop (4/5th Architecture Students)

Introduction to the Project

Throughout history city spaces have served as meeting place, marketplace and connection space, and most of the world's cities still provide the framework for these functions. There are strong arguments for prioritizing humanistic urban planning that carefully accommodates the people who use city spaces. Invitations to walk, bicycle and take part in city life should certainly comprise cities everywhere regardless of level of economic development. Public life changes constantly in the course of a day, week, or month, and over the years. In addition, place's design, gender, age, health status, financial resources, culture and many other factors determine how we use or do not use public spaces.
In this context, public space is understood as streets, alleys, buildings, squares, gardens, green areas, open spaces in front of community’s services, bollards: everything: that can be considered part of the built environment. Public life should also be understood in the broadest sense as everything that takes place between buildings, to and from school, on balconies, seated, standing, green spaces, walking, biking, etc. it is everything we can go out and observe happening- far more than just street theatre and café life. However, we do not mean city life to be understood as the city’s psychological and physical well-being. Rather it is the complex and versatile life that unfolds in public space. It makes no difference whether our point of departure is Copenhagen, Dhaka, Mexico or Amman city. The nub is the interplay between life and space in all its guises. The core of the matter is to get the large volumes of life in public spaces to function in a way that allows daily life to take place under decent conditions and partner with the physical framework instead of fighting against it (Gehl and Svarre, 2013). This would encourage/ motivate people of all ages and of different abilities to walk, exercise and practise healthy and enjoyable sustainable lifestyle.
This workshop aims to expose the students to place making methods that have been developed over the past 50 years to study the interaction between public life and space. They are tools helping us to develop better understanding of the place qualities and how to make a sustainable and healthy use of public spaces and their associated activities so that we can make these spaces more functional and economically thriving. The development of tools that examine people’s use is necessary because the use of cities has been overlooked, while abstract concepts, large structures, traffic challenges and other amorphous issues have dominated urban planning.The workshop will seek ways to upgrade public spaces and improve conditions for physical activity, mixed use facilities and healthy interaction such as walking, cycling, exercising, views, hearing, smelling etc.
Three sites will be thoroughly investigated in Amman. The investigation will implement Urban sustainable and healthy planning guidelines that are highlighted by Gehl Architects, Gordon Cullen, WHO’s (i.e. World Health Organization) for cities around the world and therefore benefits from the experience of best international practices.

Detailed Townscape Analysis and urban design quality

The students will be split into three groups. Each group will undertake a visual survey, mapping, physical measurements and analysis, photos and sketches of the site. This includes detailed analysis of the streets and associated open spaces, amenities, facilities and transportation mood within a specified part of the City. The group would also conduct interviews with the users of these open spaces, amenities, facilities, investigate transportation attitudes and get the users' perception of the impact of these issues on their health. The survey work and data collection should be done as a joint effort of each group’s members. Each group will submit the proposed development report in the form of an A1 (4 maximum), illustrated report of approximately 2000 words and a powerpoint presentation. Written text should be fluent and coherent, logically arranged and fully referenced where material is drawn from published sources.

Steps to Creating Prosperous and healthy Places

Each group should use a number of principles in their site analysis and investigation. These principle were developed by ;Gehl Architects in his books ‘How to Study Public Life’ and ‘cities for people’; Nan Ellin in her recent book Good Urbanism 2013; and Barton et al. in their book shaping neighbourhoods for local health and global sustainability 2010.

Submission Requirement

Each group will conduct visual survey and interviews. These would help in analysing spaces, activities and people views on the public spaces. These should include the followings:
  • A brief description of the geographical location of the area and its relationship to the city as a whole .
  • Detailed analysis of the interaction between people and different functions, uses and layouts including movability, proximity to public transportation, mixed use activities, facilities and amenities and their relevance to the walkability, cycling and public transportation options, sitting areas, waiting areas, relaxing spaces, frontage quality, human scales activities, etc.,).
  • Detailed analysis of the form and layout of the buildings, streets and spaces (orientation, surface materials, micro climate etc.), functions, and mixed used activities.
  • Detailed analysis of the functions and activities accommodated within the area, and their influence on the local ‘sense of place’, people physical and psychological health and their economic and leisure activities.
  • An assessment of the urban design qualities possessed by the area (qualities such as robustness, permeability, variety, vitality, legibility, aesthetics, attractiveness, multi-use, provision of amenities, safety etc.), including the identification of both positive and negative features on health and environment. A townscape notation map must be included.
  • Overall assessment of the impact of place on health as perceived by users and as assessed by students.
  • Suggestions as to how the overall quality of the area in terms of health and wealth should be improved through manipulation of the townscape elements and urban design quality, based on the evidence recorded. Detailed 2D/3D drawings must be included.
  • Developing additional plan/Master plan/image/perspectives etc. (present planning situation and proposed planning solutions)
  • Producing the final report.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the exercise, students should demonstrate:
  1. An understanding of the public realm i.e. people’s physical, health and wealth-wise activities and needs and its’ relationship with spaces and places.
  2. 2. An ability to produce a Master plan that preciously links spaces’ qualities to people’s activities, needsand physical health.
  3. 3. An ability to propose solutions that improve sustainable and health qualities of public spaces and address people’s present and future needs.

Organization workshop

  • Dr. Husam AlWaer, University of Dundee, UK .
  • Dr. Samer Bagaeen, Brighton University, UK .
  • Dr. Bhzad Sidawi, University of Dammam, KSA .
  • Dr. Nawwar Alatassi, Isra University, Jordan .
  • Prof. Kevin Murray, Glasgow University, UK

Main contact :-

Mis.Suha Al-Zghoul
Isra University - Faculty of Engineering
PO Box 11622
Queen Alya Airport Street
Amman, Jordan
T: +962 788685635

For Registration :-

Registration fees are as follows:
  • Isra university students – free of charge
  • Other Jordanian university students – 50$
  • Foreign students – 300$

Payment Methods:

Payment can be made by bank transfer using the details below:
  • Bank Name: Arab bank
  • Branch: Bayader Wadi Al Seer
  • Account Name: Isra University
  • Account Number: 162-40215-0-501
  • Swift Code: ARABJoA*100
  • Iban Number: JO18 ARAB 1620 0000 0016 2040 2155 01


Please note this fees is for administration purposes and it is the students responsibility to book the accommodation and air tickets and make necessary arrangements as required. However, the Isra University will provide every help and support that is needed. Payment method:
For further information regarding the payment method contact Miss.Suha Al-Zghoul

Workshop program :-

Click to view workshop program in pdf file.

VENUE and TRAVEL Information :-


This workshop will be held at the Department of Architecture, Isra University, Amman, TheCapital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Isra University, a private institution of higher education in Jordan, owned and funded company Isra University, which got a license created under the Higher Education Council resolution dated 08/12/1989, and started its first semester of the undergraduate program in October 1991.
The University is located on the road to Queen Alia International Airport, and the colleges and their installations and facilities buildings on a plot area of 300 donumsTunaib area south of the capital Amman.


Travel information :-

Getting to Amman :-
The major airport of arrival into Amman is Queen Alia International Airport The airport's website provides further information on how to get to and from the airport. The trip from the airport to the conference venue take away(11.400) km and from conference venue to the recommendation hotel it take away (23.00)km.

Visa Requirements:
All related activities to matters Visa Please check Embassy in your location.

Conference organizers recommend the following hotel:

Le Vendome Hotel :-
This hotel take away (23.00) km about the conference venue Please find on the maps, below, the location of the hotel and Isra University.
Le Vendome Hotel

Lodges on the airport road:-
This lodges will be announced later Based on the number of students participating in the workshop.

Note :-
All internal transfers to and from the conference venue and student lodges is available for free from the Isra university


For any other troubles please contact the main contact :
Miss.Suha Al-Zghoul
Isra University - Faculty of Engineering
PO Box 11622
Queen Alya Airport Street
Amman, Jordan
T: +962 788685635