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See detailL’amélioration des conditions de vie dans les camps de réfugiés palestiniens à Amman ou la dé-théâtralisation de l’urbanisme jordanien
Oesch, Lucas UL

in Articulo (2015), (Special issue 7),

By analysing urban development in Palestinian refugee camps in Amman, this article highlights the heterogeneity of urban planning strategies and discourses that exist in Jordan. Despite the fact that some ... [more ▼]

By analysing urban development in Palestinian refugee camps in Amman, this article highlights the heterogeneity of urban planning strategies and discourses that exist in Jordan. Despite the fact that some camps have been established more than 60 years ago, the official discourse of institutions in charge of these spaces emphasises above all their temporary character. This claim appears at first sight inconsistent with the principles of urban planning. The aim of the latter is to plan long term spaces which will last in the future. Nevertheless, my argument is that even in a situation where officially urban development does not exist, some form of “humanitarian” urban planning has taken place. It was driven by the invention of a discourse revolving around the improvement of living conditions. There, the transformation of the habitat of Palestinian refugees was “unstaged” compared to the “staging” of the dominant Jordanian urban planning aimed at neoliberal restructuring of central and western areas in Amman. The urban planning of camps is nonetheless not completely disconnected from this process. Nevertheless, the storytelling associated with their planning has neutralised the debate about it by limiting its scope to only technical and humanitarian dimensions. This “unstaging” of the urban narrative represents an ingenious compromise that was necessary to maintain the features of the camps –half-neighbourhoods, half-temporary places– while allowing a form of development and integration of these spaces in the modern and neoliberal city of Amman. [less ▲]

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