Amro Yaghi


This paper asks how can we re-think and critically produce alternative ‘public’ spaces through translating forms of civic pedagogical tactics in Amman? Our neoliberal contemporary cities and political agendas, with its Arabic versions, have produced socially, spatially polarised and de-politized spaces. In fact, what we inhabit today are spaces that are pseudo public. Those spaces prompt critiquing the role of the architects, practitioners and architecture educators to intervene, mediate and response collectively. Trying to form a resistance to this problem, the responding approach is informed by reviewing and critiquing how architectural pedagogies are performed in Jordan, focusing on evaluating their civic engagement and the political and neoliberal influence. The paper then moves to focus on key relevant pedagogical models with envisioning the action plan that are adopted and tailored to the specific cultural, political and social context of Amman.
This paper framework will start reflections from some critical pedagogical theories to evaluate and critique the current architectural pedagogical approaches in Amman-Jordan contexts and analysing the various actants such as political policies, civic interventions and processes that affect architecture education. Furthermore, it generates some important lessons and reflections from practices, such as the interventions used by Romanian architects in the 1980s, Pseudo Public Space Studio-UK, live projects-UK, triggering and resisting the challenges on civic practices. The study will conclude by proposing methodological framework for translating civic pedagogical tactics that prompt to provoke and draw the public attention towards the right to the city and its space, while resisting the challenges that are facing the context of Amman- Jordan. The process of translation is adopted and tailored to Amman-Jordan context, rather than imported and colonised. These tactics opened up possibilities and generated a new and alternative form of publicness, as well as a resilient and resistant community.


How to Cite
Yaghi, A. (2020) “Translation of Civic Pedagogical Tactics to Critically Produce Public Spaces in Amman”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(1), pp. 37–50. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i1.1250.
Author Biography

Amro Yaghi, University of Sheffield

Amro Yaghi is a qualified architect, urban designer and doctoral researcher at Sheffield School of Architecture. Researching and questioning diversity, politics, and inequality in public spaces and how these can be addressed through performative spatial practice. Interested and involved in promoting critical thinking and live projects towards social justice as civic pedagogical praxis and co-producing alternative tactics and publicness. Amro worked closely with various communities, NGO representatives and academics in both Western and Eastern contexts.


Ababsa, M. (2010). The evolution of upgrading policies in Amman. Paper prepared for the Second International Conference on Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development: 12 – 14 July 2010. Institut français du Proche-Orient, IFPO.

Ababsa, M.(2011). Social Disparities and Public Policies in Amman. In M. Ababsa and R. Daher (ed.), Les cahiers de l'IFPO: Vol. 6. Cities, urban practices and nation building in Jordan, in: Villes, pratiques urbaines et construction nationale en Jordanie. Beyrouth: Presses de l'ifpo, pp. 205–231.

Ababsa, M. (2013). Introduction. Citizenship and Urban Issues in Jordan, in: Villes, Pratiques Urbaines et Construction Nationale En Jordanie, Cahiers de l’Ifpo. Presses de l’Ifpo, Beyrouth, pp. 39–64.

Abdel-Gawad, T. (1950). Architecture of the 20th Century between Form and Content. Architecture-Majalatu Al Imara in Egypt). 25 PP 67-72. (Translated from Arabic).

About Live Projects. Sheffield School of Architecture [WWW Document], n.d. URL http://www.liveprojects.org/about/2/ (accessed 1.14.19).

Butterworth, C., Langfield, J., Hicklin, I., Brown, S. (2013). SSoA: A Handbook for Live Projects. The University of Sheffield.

Care, L., Hicklin, I., Langfield, J. (2013). What is it like? at the University of Sheffield. United Kingdom.

Cauter de, L., de Roo, R. & Vanhaesebrouck (eds.) (2011). Art and Activism in the Age of Globalisation. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers.

Certeau, M. de (1988). The practice of everyday life. University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif. ; London.

Daher, R. (2008). “Amman: Disguised Genealogy and Recent Urban Restructuring and Neoliberal Threats”, in The Evolving Arab City: Tradition, Modernity & Urban Development, Elsheshtawy, Yasser (Editor). London: Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group, pp. 37-68, 2008.

Daher, R. (2011). “Discourses of neoliberalism and disparities in the city landscape : Cranes, craters and an exclusive urbanity”, in M. Ababsa and R. Daher (ed.), Cities, Urban Practices, and Nation Building in Jordan, Beirut, Institut Français du Proche-Orient, pp. 273–296.

Darder, A., Baltodano, M. and Torres, R. (2003). (Eds) The Critical Pedagogy Reader. London: Routledge.

Dutton, T.A. (1987). Design and Studio Pedagogy. Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 41, 16–25.

Fethi, I., Mahadine, K. & Salama, A. (1993). Toward Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice: The Status of Construction and Its Affiliated Courses in Arab Architectural Education Today. Open House International. Vol. (18) 4. PP. 11-18.

Freire, P. (1996). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Revised edition edn. London: Hammondsworth Penguin.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Harriss, H., Widder, L. (2014). Architecture live projects: pedagogy into practice. First edition. ed. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, London.

Hoteit, A. (2016). Architectural Education in the Arab World and Its Role in Facing the Contemporary Local and Regional Challenges. Canadian Social Science, 12 (7), 1-7. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/8506.

Jordan Times (2016). Population stands at around 9.5 million, including 2.9 million guests. Available online: [WWW Document], (2016). . Jordan Times. URL http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/population-stands-around-95-million-including-29-million-guests (accessed 3.30.16).

Kuttner, P.J. (2016). Hip-Hop Citizens: Arts-Based, Culturally Sustaining Civic Engagement Pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review 86, 527–555.

Lefebvre, H, (1991). The production of space. Blackwell, Malden, MA.

MArch programmes | School of Architecture | The University of Sheffield. [WWW Document], n.d. URL https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/architecture/march (accessed 26.04.18).

Massey, D.B. (2005). For space. SAGE, London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Massey, D.B. (2007). World city. Polity, Cambridge.

News.bbc.co.uk. (2008). BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Arab education 'falling behind'. [online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7227610.stm [Accessed 14 Jan. 2018].

Nicol, D. and Pilling, S. (2000). Changing architectural education: Toward a new professional role. London, UK: Spon Press.

Nicol, D., Pilling, S., Pilling, S. (2005). Changing Architectural Education : Towards a New Professionalism. Taylor & Francis.

Petrescu, D., Petcou, C. (2013). Tactics for a Transgressive Practice. Architectural Design. 83(6), 58–65. https://doi.org/10.1002/ad.1675.

Public vs. Private (2014). [WWW Document]. Jordan Times. Available online: URL http://www.jordantimes.com/opinion/yusuf-mansur/public-vs-private-2014 (accessed 1.14.17).

Rendell, J. (2006). Art and architecture: a place between. IBTauris, London ; New York.

Said, E.W. (1994). Identity, Authority, and Freedom: The Potentate and the Traveler. Boundary 2, 21(3), 1-18.

Sakr, T. (1993). Early 20th Century Islamic Architecture in Cairo. Cairo: The American University Press.

Salama, A. M. A., O'Reilly, W., & Noschis, K. (2002). Architectural Education Today: Cross-cultural Perspectives: Comportements.

Salama, A., Amir, A. (2005). Paradigmatic trends in Arab architectural education: impacts and challenges, in: Paper Intended for Publication and Presentation at the International Congress of Architecture: The International Union of Architects-UIA: Istanbul. Turkey.

Salama, A. (1995). New Trends in Architectural Education: Designing the Design Studio, Tailored Text and Unlimited Potential Publishing, Raleigh, North.

Soja, E.W. (1980). The Socio-Spatial Dialectic. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 70(2), 207–225. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8306.1980.tb01308.x.

Stone, B., Woof, I. (2015). Engaged Learning Sheffield. The University of Sheffield.

Stratford H, Petrescu D & Petcou C (2008). Form-Trans-Inform: the ‘poetic’ resistance in architecture. arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, 12(02), 149-158.

USAID/Jordan Education Sector May (2016) | Documents | Jordan | U.S. Agency for International Development. [WWW Document], n.d. URL https://www.usaid.gov/jordan/documents/usaidjordan-education-sector-may-2016 (accessed 3.17.18).

Webster, H. (2004). Facilitating critically reflective learning: excavating the role of the design tutor in architectural education. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 2(3), 101-111.

Webster, H. (2008). Architectural Education after Schön: Cracks, Blurs, Boundaries and Beyond. Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 3(2), 63-74.

Westheimer, J., Kahne, J. (2004). What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy. American Educational Research Journal 41(2), 237–269.

Wink, J. (2000). Critical Pedagogy : Notes from the Real World. 2nd edn. New York: Longman.

Yaghi, A. (2017). Performative approaches to 'Reclaiming public space' in Amman. In: International Conference II: Reclaiming Public Spaces Within Metropolitan Areas. Amman: The German Jordanian University, 1-14.

Yaghi, A. Petrescu, D., Nawratek, K., (2019). Performative Interventions to Re-Claim, Re-Define and Produce Public Space In Different Cultural And Political Contexts. Archnet-IJAR - International Journal of Architectural Research, 13(3), 718-735.

Zukin, C., Keeter, S., Andolina, M., Jenkins, K., Carpini, M.X.D. (2006). A New Engagement?: Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen. Oxford University Press.

Zureik, E. (1996). Palestinian Refugees and the Peace Process. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies.