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Amman Cultural Trails

Amman is a city that is rich in historic monuments and also one that is rapidly urbanizing.
As such it would serve as a valuable pilot study to explore ways that the cultural heritage
of an Arab city can be understood and interpreted in the contemporary context and
viewed as a resource to contribute towards more socially and environmentally
sustainable urban futures. Amman is especially significant in engaging with the middleeast
region in general. Cultural identity in the contemporary city and the loss of cultural
heritage in the city’s rapid growth are real concerns in the city that the project would
address.
The primary objectives of the project activities would be:

  1. Mapping of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Resources. This would include
    tangible heritage such as monuments and artifacts, as well as intangible heritage
    such as visual and performing arts, and crafts including building crafts. A
    mapping of contemporary creative practices would also be included to the extent
    possible. Natural conditions and resources and cultural adaptations to the unique
    conditions is also a valuable cultural resource.
  2. Propose cultural itineraries for visitors to Amman to help them experience the
    culture, cultural heritage, and creativity of Amman.
  3. Propose design interventions that could help nurture, support, and promote the
    cultural resources of Amman for both visitors and the locals while helping local
    livelihoods.

Methodology

We will identify and map the culture, cultural heritage, and creativity that
make Amman unique including cultural responses to the natural environment. We will
study these in three categories:

  1. Culture and Creativity including intangible heritage, music, dance, craft, rituals,
    festivals, arts, theater, and cinema
  2. Cultural heritage including monuments, urban form, traditional buildings and
    streets, stairs building types, courtyards, and skylines
  3. Cultural responses to the natural environment including geology, local building
    materials, traditional water management systems, built infrastructure including
    historic roads, bridges or drains, urban agriculture, parks, and public spaces;
    food and cuisine; fruit, vegetable, and specialty markets

Activities: Includes field visits to identify and document heritage and creative practices
around the city; interviews with practitioners; meeting with representatives from the city
and communities; meeting with NGOs; meeting with University faculty and researchers.
Students: The Workshop includes 6 graduate students of architecture, planning, and
preservation, from GSAPP, Columbia University, 6 students of architecture from the
Middle East and North Africa region.

Outputs

Curate, document, and develop visual content for presentation at symposium

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