Today, we’ve completed most of the work on the Amman Municipality’s Centennial website, a key project for us at SYNTAX, as it acts on one of the key recommendations we presented to the Greater Amman Municipality during the development of the Amman Brand: telling Amman’s story is building its identity.

The site brings together a history of Amman (with a special focus on the 20th century), an institutional history of Amman’s municipality and an interactive story telling section that allows people to share their the own Amman memories and comment on stories published by others.

I’ve written a post about the site on my blog 360east, explaining the rationale and the spirit of this site:

This site is the first ever bilingual (Arabic/English) attempt to take Amman’s story to the mainstream. So far, only academics and intellectuals knew anything significant about the story of Amman. Many of the attempts of recounting Amman’s hostory fall into the trap of talking more about the Romans (and other ancients) than the Amman of the 20th century. What we tried to do for our client, GAM, here was to give them a package of information, that forms the basis of future efforts to tell the story of Amman. Our hope is that our effort and that of others (like the work of Dr Rami Al Daher, who created an exhibition on Amman’s story as well) will be translated into a future downtown interactive museum that tells the unique story of Amman.

This project was not without its challenges..

At SYNTAX, we often get ourselves involved in pioneering projects. Amman has never undertaken a comprehensive branding exercise. It never presented its story in an accessible manner. City identities, especially in this turbulent part of the world, are never easy to deal with. City’s stories happen at the intersection of the social, economic and political spheres of society. Creating this site was at times frustrating and stressful, to us and to our client. I am sure that people will find things to complain about. But for now it stands as a piece of the Ammani collage. It is an attempt to establish a new official narrative, blended with the non-official stories of ordinary Ammanis.

Telling the story of Amman remains a work in progress. We hope that this site will be a catalyst for more story telling activities in the future.