Stop Yourself from Referring to the Abdali Project as “Downtown”. It Is Not Downtown.

The Abdali project will be opening its doors tonight, after a decade of work. Even if it turns out to be the coolest thing in the world (and it might), try to make a conscious effort to not refer to the new Abdali project as “downtown”. That’s a marketing game, and the winners are the marketeers and the Saudi/Lebanese investors.

You know who the loser would be? You, I, and the heritage of our city.

We already have an amazing downtown Amman (elbalad) thats been inhabited from around 6,500 B.C.

Money can never create anything as beautiful and meaningful as the citadel in downtown Amman. It’s one of the oldest continuously-inhabited spots in the world, representing significant civilizations that stretched across continents and prospered for centuries, as one empire gave rise to the next. It is a part of the heritage of mankind.

The most high-tech stage will never compare to the 2000-year-old Roman amphitheater in downtown Amman, the most obvious and impressive remnant of Philadelphia. It’s ancient history playing out right in front of your eyes.

And no matter how delicious it is, no restaurant will ever be able to compete with the charms of the restaurants in downtown Amman, like Hashem, Habiba, Balat Al-Rashid, Central, and Al-Quds.

It’s not that I mind the Abdali project. On the contrary: I am actually quite excited, especially for open-air shopping and perhaps one or two new places to go out to.

But I have major issues with the attitude of foreign investors arrogantly marketing their project as “the new downtown” when we already have a gorgeous downtown.

Make a conscious effort to refer to the Abdali project as what it is: the Abdali project, مشروع العبدلي, the Abdali Boulevard, or whatever else.

We already have a downtown Amman, البلد, and thank you very much, we don’t want a new one.






8 Comments »

  1. The Abdali Project Will Never be the “New Downtown” - whats your story? | شو قصتك؟

    June 12, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

    […] By Roba Assi (a version of this post was published on the blog AndFarAway) […]

  2. Jaraad

    June 12, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

    “We already have an amazing downtown Amman (elbalad) thats been inhabited from around 6,500 B.C.” This says it all.

    Very well said!

  3. Sami Z

    June 12, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    Awesome post. We see this phenomenon all over the states. We even have a word for it – “gentrification”

  4. Tamara Al Manaseer

    June 13, 2014 @ 10:59 am

    who’s the composer of this article ?

  5. kmsdciomds

    June 13, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

    I, as an Arab, witness so many mundane articles on arabic media as this one, and it makes me sad. Who gives a shit if the Abdali Project is referred to as downtown? Would that mean that 8,500 years of heritage will disappear? Would that mean that the people who appreciate this area won’t appreciate it anymore? You know what, I’d rather they call the Abdali Project “Downtown”, because Wast El Balad isn’t downtown, it’s Wast El Balad.

  6. Rana

    June 13, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

    I think Abdali should be called the Central Bussiness District . Amman CBD. Downtown elbalad is a magical place and the name is dear to us.

  7. Lebanese lady

    June 14, 2014 @ 12:20 am

    Bravo !

  8. haitham

    June 19, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

    Neatly put.

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