Inner city life: A socially resilient development plan for the inner core of the city of Irbid

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Arkkitehtuurin maisteriohjelma
Developing cities of low to middle income are undergoing especially rapid changes. This poses a great strain on urban environments to cope with change, while also offering inhabitants continued opportunity for development. The city of Irbid, in Jordan, currently faces several challenges, mainly posed by local changing demographics, and global influences of modernisation. The changes in Irbid demonstrate the connectedness of local and global effects in socio-ecological systems. To maintain its main functions and identity, a city needs to respond to change at a local level. Accordingly, that requires that society be equipped with the necessary capacities to deal with constant change, so they can adapt, and use change as an opportunity for development. This thesis highlights the importance of action at the local scale, and through an understanding of local conditions. The development of the inner core of Irbid is approached through the framework of social resilience. The thesis explores how urban design can strengthen social resilience capacities which enable societies to deal with complexities and challenges. The thesis consists of three main parts, a theoretical study of the concept of social resilience in the urban environment, an in-depth analysis of the inner core of the city of Irbid, and finally an urban design proposal that applies the theory. The main outcome of the theoretical research is a guiding conceptual framework for urban design which aims to strengthen capacity giving assets for social resilience in urban environments. The thesis then demonstrates how the framework can be applied to a local context. Since the focus of the thesis is on building social resilience at the local scale, an ethnographic approach was undertaken for the analysis of the inner core of Irbid. The findings from the fieldtrip are analysed through the conceptual framework, in order to eventually consolidate theory and analysis through an urban design proposal.
Krokfors, Karin
Thesis advisor
Hewidy, Hossam
Hollmén, Saija
social resilience, urban design, Middle-East, Jordan, developing cities, ethnography
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