Home to almost half of the country’s 10 million inhabitants, Amman is not only Jordan’s capital but also its economic, political, and cultural center. The city’s historic downtown is a melting pot for diverse communities: native Jordanians, Palestinian, Syrian and other refugee populations, as well as individuals from around the world who now call Jordan home or are simply visiting this great country. Amman has a rich historical and cultural identity with remarkable landmarks dating back thousands of years, such as the iconic Citadel and the Roman Theater.


Downtown Amman boasts many spaces for social gathering and is linked to vibrant neighbourhoods popular with tourists, such as Jabal Amman and Jabal Weibdeh.







What is city resilience? 

City resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.

What are the shocks and stresses?

A shock is a sudden, acute event that occurs infrequently, such as a major flood or terrorist attack. Stress is a chronic condition that gradually weakens the city's fabric on a daily or cyclic basis, such as high rates of unemployment or severe traffic congestion. A city's ability to remain competitive whilst supporting the well-being of its citizens may be influenced by sudden shocks and ongoing stresses.





The city has undergone rapid and unplanned expansion in addition to accommodating a large influx of refugees and migrants fleeing from various regional conflicts throughout the years. The people of Amman are familiar with the concept of resilience, but as additional pressures such as climate change, lack of economic diversity, and resource constraints increase, the city faces new challenges for which it must be prepared. ​


Regional instability combined with a restrictive business and investment environment that discourages local and foreign investments has contributed to economic stagnation and a contributes to a growing risk of the city’s services and systems going unsupported.


A lack of natural resources, such as energy and water, render the city heavily reliant on imports from abroad. This leaves the city exposed to price volatility and supply insecurity. Compounded by an increasing demand from its growing population, Amman must find ways to meet its future resource needs without compromising its ability to deliver reliable and high quality services.


Long periods of droughts often followed by heavy rains lead to flooding in lower areas of the city while its elevation exposes it to hazardous blizzards. Periodic snowstorms paralyze the city, affecting schools, transportation and the power grid. The city responds to these disruptions by implementing established protocols for emergency operations, including rapid-response communications centers and an elaborate community coordination process.


The influx of refugees and migrants has put pressure on the city's infrastructure and its ability to deliver quality basic services. This includes waste management and transport systems. While the city has well-maintained roads, tunnels, and bridges, it suffers from poor, inefficient, unaffordable and not gender-sensitive public transport infrastructure, forcing residents to rely heavily on cars.







The resilience plan is made of strategic steps that aim to achieve the vision of a city more able to cope with current shocks and stresses while preventing or preparing for future crises. In order to build a more resourceful, inclusive, and integrated Amman, the plan comes in two phases.

  • Understanding the current risks, crises and shocks that put or may put stress on the city.


  • Identifying “Discovery Areas” - areas of intervention for development.


  • Engaging the city’s stakeholders, community members,  Greater Amman Municipality, the private-sector, NGOs, universities, and youth organizations.

  • Combining technical assessment and strategic stakeholder engagement.

  • Undertaking activities to develop solutions to the challenges facing the Discovery Areas identified in Phase I.

  • Prioritizing these proposed solutions to produce a short list of opportunities that have the potential to build the city’s  resilience.





Heart of Amman is a platform intended to allow all to take part in revitalizing Amman, by expanding local economic opportunities while creating a greener, healthier, more walkable, inclusive, and youth, women and child friendly city for all that call Amman home. This innovative platform is based on a successful approach, tried and tested around the world, in which local development is spearheaded by the community itself because there is no better force to drive change than those who know a city’s history, identity, and specific challenges best.  Community-based development is an important catalyst for strengthening social cohesion, increasing a sense of civic responsibility, and enhancing a city’s resilience. By unlocking Amman’s human potential and implementing thoughtful, sustainable urban interventions, this platform helps to protect the Amman of today and prepare for the Amman of tomorrow.

Participatory Approach

Heart of Amman is based on the participatory engagement of citizens, municipalities, the private sector, and civil society entities, while the UNDP supports in designing community-owned interventions.  This means that these interventions will be mainly selected, prioritized and implemented by the community itself, with the support of the UNDP, public and private stakeholders. It is a platform through which Amman’s residents can address their challenges and aspirations and develop innovative solutions to improve their lives and livelihoods to make a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable city for all. Joint participation is precisely the reason that the impact of this approach is more substantial and sustainable than top-down development driven by outside entities. By engaging residents alongside stakeholders present in Amman, who therefore know both the city’s challenges and its potential, Heart of Amman hopes to be a platform through which individuals and entities can take pride in reinvigorating the historical downtown area.

The UNDP is adopting a methodology of “Urban Acupuncture”, in which small-scale interventions in public spaces are used to relieve socio-economic strain in urban areas, creating sustainable urban development tailored to each area’s specific needs. These interventions, identified by the community through the participatory approach, aim to create a ripple effect to transform the larger urban fabric - each small action setting off a chain reaction to unlock the social, economic, and environmental potential of the city.


We believe that Amman’s cultural and historical sites are important assets to be considered while promoting Amman as a more prosperous city, anchored in its rich history and its multiculturalism. Furthermore, by reimagining and revitalising neglected public places, the project will create inviting places where citizens can meet; thus strengthening social cohesion and drawing tourists and visitors to the city centre. Rehabilitating staircases, alleyways, and sidewalks will result in a more interconnected, walkable and accessible city for all (including women, children, the elderly and differently-abled individuals). Restructuring markets, promoting innovation and supporting entrepreneurship has the potential to create new economic and employment opportunities, especially for women and youth.


Urban Accupuncture


Project Interventions

Heritage and Specialised Souqs Rehabilitation: Strengthen livelihoods through tourism, promote existing businesses, and increase purchasing power

Talent and Innovation Incubator: Promotes inclusivity and creates a place where knowledge and ideas can be exchanged and vocational training provided to bolster community creativity and ingenuity

Enhanced Urban Mobility and Accessibility: Improves access to public services for all, increases socio-economic growth, improves the overall quality of life and well-being of the community, while increasing physical activity and easing the flow of traffic

Revitalisation of Amman’s Heritage Trails: Establishes a network of routes which connect heritage, cultural, gastronomic and shopping sites within the city while creating safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces, enhancing mobility, promoting walkability, and boosting tourism

Community Culture and Arts Projects: strengthen the communities’ sense of belonging, promote creativity, provide youth with a platform through which to express themselves, and encourage people to come together in celebration of Amman, anchoring the city's collective identity. Collective art expression is to become a modern landmark, where all participate and include the city in the global artistic network

Reorganization of Open-Air Markets: Allows for the coordination of markets which creates new economic opportunities and supports women and youth entrepreneurs

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