A Gis Analysis of the Impact of Modern Practices and Polices on the Urban Heritage of Irbid, Jordan

Topics: City, Urban planning, Cultural heritage Pages: 18 (5954 words) Published: January 17, 2013
Cities 26 (2009) 81–92

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A GIS analysis of the impact of modern practices and polices on the urban heritage of Irbid, Jordan Sharaf Al-kheder a,*, Naif Haddad a, Leen Fakhoury b, Suha Baqaen c a

The Hashemite University, P.O. Box 150459, Zarqa 13115, Jordan The University of Jordan, Jordan c Consolidated Consultants Engineering and Environment, P.O. Box 830746, Amman 11183, Jordan b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
This paper shows the results of a study carried out on the central area of Irbid, Jordan in order to assess the effect of the modern urbanization process on the degradation and loss of the city’s heritage. This type of work comes as a result of the need to study the interaction between modern and heritage landscapes, which are in a direct physical contact with each other, and thus to address the problems facing sustainable development. This paper investigates a number of urban planning concerns that include: assessment of heritage/modern landscape compatibility, heritage building degradation, urban land use change and its role in the fragmentation and lack of connectivity between historic sites, visual pollution and the effectiveness of the existing urban system infrastructure. For each problem, a complete scientific analysis supported by a detailed mapping system is performed, resulting in recommendations for the necessary engineering solutions. Spatial analysis through GIS, e.g. 3D modeling, focuses on evaluating the current condition of the urban system near the heritage landscape. The paper presents important findings, such as identifying the impact of urban and infrastructural expansion, detected from historical aerial images at different epochs, on the historic center of Irbid. The study emphasizes the urgent need to solve the current problems related to the urban system, to achieve the vision of sustainability, which includes solving traffic problems for improving system accessibility, and reevaluating the policies and regulations to achieve a balanced interaction between the heritage and modern landscapes within the city. Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 22 May 2008 Received in revised form 30 October 2008 Accepted 14 December 2008 Available online 23 February 2009 Keywords: Heritage GIS Spatial analysis Sustainability

Introduction Between 1975 and 2000, the percentage of the population living in urban areas in developing countries grew from 27% to 40% (Brockerhoff, 2000). This increase in population is associated with urban and infrastructural expansion. City boundaries continue to expand, consuming more and more of rural areas, forests, heritage places and other important non-urban areas. The UN publication World Urbanization Prospects (United Nations, 2002) presents other facts about the severity of the challenge of international urbanization that is making urban management one of the most important challenges for the 21st century (Cohen, 2004). Understanding the change brought by urban development is critical to those who study urban dynamics and those who manage resources and provide services in these rapidly changing environments (Knox, 1993; Turner et al., 1993). The situation is more severe in developing countries where the fast pace of urbanization is mainly un* Corresponding author. Tel.: +962 53903333x4730. E-mail addresses: salkhede@hu.edu.jo, sharafalkeder@hotmail.com (S. Al-kheder), naifh@hu.edu.jo (N. Haddad), fakhoury@ju.edu.jo (L. Fakhoury), ccpost@ccjo.com (S. Baqaen). 0264-2751/$ - see front matter Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2008.12.003

planned and presents a real threat to different natural and cultural resources. The current urban transition in developing countries is characterized by a number of key aspects (Cohen, 2004; Brockerhoff, 2000; Hall and Pfeiffer, 2000; Sassen, 2001a; Yeung,...

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Fig. 17. Proposed ring road (in blue). (For interpretation of the references in colour in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
Concluding remarks The work presented in this paper falls mainly in two directions: first, identifying the different aspects of the currently adapted urban practices and policies and their impact on the existing urban heritage; and second, proposing a number of solutions to rectify the current situation. Unplanned urban growth, associated with mixed-use problems, is a primary factor in the destruction and degradation of the exiting heritage. The absence of a comprehensive Master Plan organizing the land use in the city causes excessive urbanization processes at different places where some important heritage is removed to establish a modern structure in its place. Furthermore, the heritage buildings start suffering from multiple use activities that do not match unique cultural values. The fast urban process consumes as well most of the green and open spaces in the historic part of the city, further deteriorating the overall urban heritage environment. Another problematic aspect is that the study area road system, in terms of the geometric design and traffic planning, is ineffective in being able to accommodate the large traffic demand. Lack of parking lots is added to these problems that force car drivers to park their cars on the street, which results in reducing the road traffic capacity. Another issue is the absence of adequate system services to organize the pedestrian movement in the area causing a dangerous level of traffic-pedestrian interaction. The paper proposes as well a number of engineering solutions to enhance the existing urban system. Among these are: developing a compre-
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