Restoration of green areas in big cities can contribute to spread environmental sustainability while promoting community involvement and economic development.
Public areas are the places where community comes alive, where bonds among neighbors are strengthened and where a sense of belonging is fostered.
With this is mind, AVSI Jordan proceeded to restore the Jana'a Park in Zarqa, the second most populous city in the country, right after Amman.
The intervention, carried out under the project “Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Jordan through Labor-Intensive measures – Cash for Work”, funded by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), was based on a participatory design process that involved the local community and local stakeholders.
This strategy has several benefits, such as building ownership, fostering community involvement and generating concrete expectations about the project. Thanks to the effort and commitment of 105 workers involved in this activity, the space - that was not used as a park - changed completely in just a few months. They improved the accessibilty to the area, installed a playground for children and built seating areas. Furthermore, several artistic works were realized to decorate the newly renovated park, while plants were seeded all over.
As cities become denser, access to green public spaces becomes more and more important. In fact, urban forestation can significantly help in lowering people’s stress levels and enhancing the general well-being. In addition, people are more likely to engage in outdoor activities when they can do so in a nicely cared for green area, full of flowers and trees.
Especially during the pandemic, the value of reachable open spaces has been appreciated more and more, as they allow movement and a breath of fresh air within dense urban areas. Physical isolation, coupled with the absence of adequate green areas, has been a serious cause of discomfort and mental health issues.
One of the main objectives of this project has been precisely that of providing the densely populated urban area of Zarqa with adequate parkland in order to improve public well-being and community relations. Jana'a Park is now an accessible and safe space where people can socialize, spend time with their children and friends, as well as organize different types of leisure activities that will have an impact on their quality of life.