The importance of studying human perception when designing high-rises and their surrounding environment: The case study of Amman city

Bushra Zalloom, Associate Professor, Zarqa University, Jordan

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Abstract: In recent decades, the cityscape of Amman, the capital of Jordan, has been transformed, especially in terms of high-rise buildings, urban regeneration projects and shopping malls. This paper focuses on the design of high-rise buildings in Amman and explores how the areas surrounding the high-rises are designed and perceived by users. It tries to justify the reasons behind the rejection of these blocks by the citizens of Amman. It also discusses some of the outcomes of the high-density mixed-used (HDMU) strategy that was implemented by the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) in 2008 to organise the high-rises’ location and design. The paper proposes a set of design strategies for the outdoor spaces surrounding the high-rises to reduce their impact on the adjacent environment and make them more acceptable to the citizens, including strengthening the image of the landscape elements and weakening the visual effect of the buildings’ mass. To achieve the research’s aim, the paper describes how these masses emerged in Amman, followed by an analysis of the HDMU strategy’s strength and weakness. It further discusses human recognition as a tool that helps in humanising the outdoor spaces surrounding the high-rises, and finally, it assesses the current status of the high-rises in Amman based on recognition factors.


Keywords: high-rises, urban regeneration, HDMU strategy, human perception, outdoor spaces


Bushra Zalloom received her PhD on the social sustainability of the urban landscape from Birmingham University, UK. Bushra has been recognised in the field of architecture and has received awards nationally and internationally. She has created a novel methodology for humanising the city, and for assessing the impacts of new developments on social sustainability.

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