Concretising land use planning: Adapt laws, involve landowners, set standards

Expert mission for the Al Dafyaneh (Tareq B) area in Greater Amman, Jordan

Under the general title Sustainable and resilient, regional and inter-municipal land management: Challenges and opportunities for growing urban and regional centers the cooperation project between the Planning Department of the Greater Amman Municipality and the German Cities of Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin aimed at developing an Exemplary community development planning scheme for Al Dafyaneh (Tareq B) in the northwest of Amman.

In a first stage the general conditions of municipal planning have been explored and compared. This concerned both planning laws and building codes and in particular provisions for land readjustment. The latter being of imminent importance for urban planning in Jordan / Amman, since heritage law result in highly split-up landownership.

The first stage of the learning process ended in December 2021 and was completed with recommendations on legislative changes to strengthen the Amman City Council vis-à-vis the landowners. Rainer Müller-Jökel (former head of the Surveying Office of the City of Frankfurt) and Gerhard Gross (former project manager in the Department of Urban Development Planning in the Office for Urban and Regional Planning of the City of Munich) wrote an official letter to the government in Amman.

A second step of the process involved both the concrete planning of the land use plan for the pilot area and the cooperation between the various offices in the preparation of an extensive land useplan.  From 26 June to 30 June 2022, an expert mission was carried out in the Greater Amman area. Mr. Müller-Jökel and Mr. Gross were supported by 3 other experts from Berlin and Munich (Mr. Moritz Theloe from the Department for Housing Projects of the Senate Department for Urban Development, Building; the Head of the Department Mr. Lars Loebner; as well as Mr. Adrian Keine, Department for Urban Planning and Building Regulations of the City of Munich). The five German municipal experts visited the Al Dafyaneh area and exchanged views with all the offices and experts involved in the city administration from GAM.

The intensive discussions and visits over five days led to many concrete recommendations and jointly developed solutions.


In summary, the experts from GAM report that they consider it useful to organise urban planning in a more participatory way. In particular, landowners should be more involved by the local government as partners. In this context, it is important both to improve the communication strategy and to use mediation where necessary. The updating of Jordan's planning and land readjustment laws is considered a very important basis to meet the actual requirements. It would be a big step if Greater Amman Municipality would be empowered to manage land readjustment itself and thus be independent from central government approvals. Furthermore, it is desirable to adapt the organisational framework of land readjustment and to pursue a higher intensity of land use. In particular, affordable, publicly subsidised housing should be considered in the future, possibly even the establishment of a municipal housing company. The idea of making the training of urban planners more practice-oriented was well received, and the initiative to offer internships for students in the planning department of Greater Amman was born.

German planning standards, as presented by the German delegation, were the prelude to a critical examination of the planning standards currently used in Amman.

The fruitful exchange will continue when a delegation from GAM visits selected urban projects in Germany as part of a technical information trip in mid-August 2022.