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Atlas of Jordan

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Myriam Ababsa

Chapter nine - City Planning, Local Governance and Urban Policies

Irbid

Myriam Ababsa

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1Irbid is Jordan’s third largest town, after Amman and Zarqa, but its second largest urban area with nearly 600,000 inhabitants. The town is located in a strategic zone bordering Syria and Israel. Irbid’s growth rate is very high (4.2% per year between 1979 and 1994, and 1.9% between 1994 and 2004). The town’s surface area has expanded at over 5% per year, and its suburbs have become urbanized following massive rural flight (82.9% of the governorate’s population is urban) (fig. IX.39). Irbid is a university town, with nearly 70,000 students in seven universities (especially the Jordan University for Science and Technology and Yarmuk University). The town’s service industry is dominant. In 2008 only 60% of heads of household were employed; a third in army administration, 12% in trade and 3.7% in industry.

Figure IX.39 — Irbid area urban expansion (1961-2005).

Figure IX.39 — Irbid area urban expansion (1961-2005).

2In 1996 Prince Hassan industrial town was opened to the south of Ramtha, near the JUST University, as a QIZ. It mainly produces textiles and chemical products. In 2001, its exports reached $274 million, but in 2008 businesses began to close. Whereas there were 71 businesses in 2007, employing more than 20,000 workers (62% Asian) (SABEQ, Irbid Development Strategy, 2007) only 26 remained in 2011, employing 14,261 workers (Ministry of Labour). In 2001 a Cyber City was built near the JUST University to the east of the town, as a free zone, but the lack of ties with industry discourages entrepreneurship in the north of the country (SABEQ, Irbid Development Strategy, 2007) (fig. IX.40).

Figure IX.40 — Irbid and Ramtha municipalities land use in 2005.

Figure IX.40 — Irbid and Ramtha municipalities land use in 2005.

3The Greater Irbid Municipality was created in 2001. The initial project dates back to 1988, but political upheaval associated with the democratic opening of 1989 delayed its creation. The project was renewed in 1998, supported by the new Minister of Municipal Affairs, who had been Mayor of Irbid. In 2010, a master plan was developed for Greater Irbid, but it had not yet been approved in 2012.

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure IX.39 — Irbid area urban expansion (1961-2005).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/5048/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 400k
Titre Figure IX.40 — Irbid and Ramtha municipalities land use in 2005.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/5048/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 330k

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