2007 saw a restructuring in CSBE's staffing, and several ongoing consultancy projects continuing from 2006 were successfully completed. CSBE also began a four-year project on water demand management that follows on from our previous work on the WEPIA project. In addition, several new projects were launched, including continuing with our public lecture series and initiating a few self-funded research initiatives.
Water Demand Management (IDARA)
A consortium led by Development Associates International (DAI), and including CSBE as a sub-contractor, won a four-year USAID project carried out in association with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to implement a program on water demand management in Jordan. CSBE is responsible for the component on water-conserving landscapes, which includes training municipalities on water-conserving park design, developing a university course module on water-conserving landscapes, working with nurseries to develop plants, as well as other training and awareness work. Tasks carried out in 2007 included a mayors' workshop - a major event with mayors from all over Jordan discussing their needs from the project as they relate to landscaping and parks, focus-group work with communities on park design, as well as preparing the training course for municipalities.
Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), Labor Villages
In 2006, CSBE was commissioned to provide professional assistance to ADC in tendering for and managing a design service contract to develop guidelines and designs for two workers' villages in Aqaba. Following a CSBE-led procurement process, ICON Architecture of Boston, Massachusetts, was selected, and produced useful and workable deliverables for ADC. During 2007, CSBE managed the contract with ICON and provided advice and follow up to ADC on the quality of deliverables and payments. This contract came to a successful end during 2007, with the approval of all of ICON's work, and the adoption of the designs for the worker's villages.
Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), Bus Terminal
CSBE was commissioned to design and manage an invited competition for local architecture firms to design a Bus Terminal for Aqaba. CSBE worked with ADC to develop the terms of reference and create a jury committee for the competition. The lack of data on ridership predictions left CSBE to design a Ridership Survey and Assessment, which the Center subsequently carried out with the help of United States-based Jordanian transportation specialist Khaled Shammout. The competition jury was held in 2007 and selected the design submitted by Tibah Associates.
Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), International School Extension
CSBE was commissioned to design and manage an invited competition for local architecture firms to re-design the Aqaba International School. CSBE worked with ADC to design the terms of reference and create a jury committee for the competition. The competition jury was held in 2007 and selected the designs submitted by office of architect Wa'el Hamarneh.
Raghadan Neighborhood Upgrading Project (Greater Amman Municipality)
In 2006, CSBE was commissioned to assist the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) with a project in the Jabal al-Qal'a district, adjacent to the Municipality's Raghadan Neighborhood Redevelopment project. This project involved engaging with local communities, mapping the district and inventorying its assets and challenges, and holding design charettes with the community. The purpose was to provide the Mayor with advice on some positive intervention in the area, and to identify how both GAM and local communities can work better together. This work was completed in 2007, and a report as well as some design ideas were submitted. The project was contracted under the Greater Amman Master Plan agreement with the consulting firm Bearing Point.
Energy-Conserving Buildings (European Union, MED-ENEC)
CSBE, in cooperation with Tareq Emteireh of Sweden's Lund University, was awarded a grant by the European Union-funded MED-ENEC program to monitor and disseminate information about an energy-efficient demonstration house under construction in Aqaba. CSBE's role involves producing educational and awareness-raising material, and presenting the building concept in various workshops and conferences. Construction got underway during 2007 and is scheduled for completion in 2009.
Graywater Experts Meeting (Canadian International Development and Research Centre)
CSBE was approached by the Canadian International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) to organize a regional Experts Meeting on graywater use. Preparations were completed during 2006, and the meeting was held in Aqaba in February 2007 under the patronage of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. It was opened by the Ministry's Secretary General, Khaldoun Khashman, and featured a number of Jordanian organizations as well as a keynote speech by Munther Haddadin, former Minister of Water and Irrigation. The conference was a success, with around 35 experts attending and presenting. IDRC also commissioned CSBE to compile and edit the proceedings, and to publish them in a book devoted to the topic.
Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF)
During 2007, CSBE continued with the commission from the Brussels-based Museum With No Frontiers to prepare and upload articles and data elements relating to Islamic art and architecture in the Mediterranean region to their Discover Islamic Art online exhibition (see, www.discoverislamicart.org).
The Diwan al-Mimar series, the architectural forum that CSBE initiated in 2000 in collaboration with Darat al-Funun, continued in 2007 with presentations by John Van Nostrand, managing partner of the Toronto-based firm Planning Alliance, who spoke about progress on the Amman Master Plan, especially relating to the plan's High Density Mixed Use areas; Khaled Shamout, United States-based transportation specialist, on issues in the management of transportation, congestion, and public transit in urban areas; Wael Samhouri, Syrian architect and educator, on his work; and Christa Reicher, head of the Department of Urban Design and Land Use Planning in the Faculty of Spatial Planning at the University of Dortmund, on German experience in rehabilitating public spaces.
Co-publishing a Monograph of Essays on the Diwan al-Mimar Presentations and CSBE Public Lectures
The new CSBE publication, Exploring the Built Environment, was finalized, printed, and published during 2007 in association with Darat al-Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation. A launch ceremony was held in November at Darat al-Funun at which Robert Saliba, professor of architecture at the American University of Beirut, gave a presentation on architectural design and social realities.
Public Spaces Research Project
CSBE initiated a self-funded project to conduct observational mapping in six public spaces in Amman. The purpose of this program was to describe how these spaces are used, and to come up with some useful observations and recommendations on developing them. The results of the study will be published on the CSBE web site.
Public Spaces Seminar - Goethe Institute
CSBE, in collaboration with Goethe Institute, organized a two-day workshop in November on designing public spaces and realms. The workshop was directed at young professionals and students of architecture, and carried out under the supervision of Christa Reicher of Dortmund University, Maram al-Taweel of the German Jordanian University, and Rami Daher of the Jordanian consulting firm Turath.
Public Lecture Series
CSBE launched a public lecture series in 2007 in collaboration with the National Gallery for Fine Arts and the Goethe Institute. The first lecture was by Stephan Weber, the Director of the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, on public spaces in the Ottoman Empire. The second lecture was by Rami Daher, the Managing Partner of the Jordanian consulting firm Turath, and was entitled "Cities in the Region as Targets of ‘Modernization' and Effect on Concepts of Public Space and Emerging Public Spheres." Rami Daher's lecture was also part of the Public Spaces Seminar organized with the Goethe Institute.
Hania Maraqa left CSBE to work with the Amman Plan Commission at the Greater Amman Municipality.
Siba al-Shouli left Jordan to relocate to Saudi Arabia.
Sandra Hiari left Jordan to pursue a master's degree in urban planning at the City College of New York in the United States.
Israa Thiab left CSBE to pursue her interests and studies in environment.
Lara Zureikat decided to increase her engagement with CSBE and took on the position of Associate Director at the Center. Lara is a landscape architect who has worked extensively with CSBE since 2001 on several projects and has led its various water-conserving landscapes initiatives.
Joud Khasawneh joined CSBE as its Design and Planning Officer. Joud is an architect and urban designer and had worked with the Jordanian architecture and planning firm Dar Al Omran before joining CSBE. She has taken on a number of administrative and coordinative duties as well as several research-related projects at the Center.
Nur Al-Fayez joined CSBE as a Research and Coordination Officer after completing her architectural degree from the University of Jordan.
During 2007, CSBE obtained a good number of income-generating projects, which allowed it to cover its expenses and also subsidize its non-funded and co-funded activities such as Diwan al-Mimar, its public lecture series, the update and maintenance of the CSBE web site, co-publishing the monograph on the Diwan al-Mimar presentations and affiliated public lectures, and the public spaces research project.
CSBE continues to function on a limited budget. Its operating expenses for 2007 amounted to 126,658 JD (about 177,000 USD) and revenues amounted to 141,569 JD (about 198,000 USD), resulting in a surplus of 14,911 JD (about 21,000 USD).
Obeidat and Freihat Attorneys & Counselors at Law continued to provide legal counseling to CSBE on a pro bono basis. Also, Mohammad al-Asad continued to offer a considerable amount of unpaid work to CSBE in the capacity of senior advisor. CSBE is grateful for their support.
Finally, a special thank you is due to the CSBE staff and to the members of the board of directors for all the efforts they made in making 2007 a successful year for the Center.