Illegal Housing in Jordan

Jamal Ahmad Alnsour


This study aims at understanding the phenomenon of illegal housing in Jordan. A mixed methods approach, which combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies, was used to satisfy the study objectives. Data was collected using a valid questionnaire and face-to-face open interviews with households who live in Al–Salt city, based in Wadi Al-Akrad district. Results showed that people sought to have home-ownership rather than housing itself. While economic motives (i.e. closeness to work, job opportunities, low income, cheap rental, low land prices, low cost of construction and irregular financial sources) are the most important motives in making people to live in illegal housing. Social motives (i.e. health, education and marketing services) were found to be less important than economic conditions and cultural motives (i.e. kinship ties, habits and familiarity with area) were less important than social motives. Findings revealed that the illegal housing is a joint decision among different actors including households, neighbours, unskilled workers and master mason. The process of construction took place at short time, limited spaces and unsystematic vertical pattern. This paper suggests that urban renewal approach is an effective way to improve current illegal housing. This can be achieved by the cooperation between local municipality and government, the partnership between local residents and civil society organizations and raising public awareness of significance of urban renewal.


Illegal Housing; Construction; Urban Planning; Al-Salt

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