Architect Mohammad Al Asad — who has always been critical of Sweifieh — has something positive to say about the busy Amman neighborhood. He wrote an article in the Jordan Times about a recent visit to the pedestrian zone at Al Wakalat street. Here is one excerpt that caught my attention:
In spite of that, the pedestrian zone was a most pleasant surprise. The fact that there were no cars and the street was for once the undisputed realm of the pedestrian in itself is a wonderful development. What makes the experience successful, however, is more than that. The pedestrian zone functioned as a truly public space in the healthiest sense of the word.
The space of the street was filled with people from all walks of life and from various socio-economic backgrounds. One could see the young and old, male and female, the affluent and not so affluent, the conservatively dressed and those dressed according to the latest fashions, all having a great time in the street. They came together in this space, shared the space, and celebrated the space, all in a spirit of mutual acceptance.
From what I’m reading here it seems like there are some real positive indications that the gap between West and East Amman is beginning to shrink. The problem with Amman has always been a lack of public activities. This kept segments of society segregated, causing a major cultural clash whenever these different social classes intermingled. From what I read, it seems things are changing and that the East is meeting West at last.