The character of Amman, Jordan, as the "City of Waters"
—referring to the abundance of water flowing in its known stream—has faded away because of the municipal policy to cover the stream in the 1960s which gradually changed the ecological character. This paper traces and explores the impacts of stream-coverage policy on the city character, morphology and land use changes. The purpose is to understand how an engineered problem-solving policy changed physical and perceptive factors and affected the character of the city. It also explores future attitudes towards reversing the non-nature-friendly conditions. The methods depend upon monitoring morphological changes in aerial photographs and in land use maps from municipality archives, conducting interviews with the elderly who witnessed change, one-to-one questionnaires with stakeholders and online questionnaires with residents and visitors. The results show that covering the stream is depriving the city of its historical/ecological character. The policy failed to promote affluent business, to mitigate flood impacts, or to decrease traffic congestion in the Central Business District (CBD). Most age groups believe the stream can improve the image and economy, despite the fact of their unawareness of its historical presence. In conclusion, engineered problem-solving should not stay in the hands of decision makers (technocrats) alone, but rather be considered with the public, sustainable character experts, and ecologists.
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