Sunday, January, 6, 2030
Today is the first working day in 2030. On my way to work, I check my smart home application on my mobile as usual. I consumed yesterday almost 14 kWh of electricity and I produced around 10 kWh but that’s fine since I’m still making money out of the subsidized feed-in tariff. I look out of the window fascinated by how Irbid has transformed into an incredibly sustainable city in no time. Irbid is Jordan’s second largest city after Amman. It has always attracted students from all over the Middle East and Asia for having some of the best universities in the region. Only 15 years back, living in Irbid was full of challenges on so many levels; employment rates were extremely low as all SMEs and big corporate were based in Amman, there were more than 600,000 Syrian refugees in Zaatari Camp alone, and as every other Jordanian city, Irbid had no natural resources at all. Jordan was the world’s second water-poorest country and used to import 97% of its energy.
All those issues have been resolved when the municipality introduced the iMEP (Irbid Master Eco Plan) and that was more of what I like to call, EcoSocioRev; an Ecological, Economical and Social Revolution. Many programs were initiated right after to cover almost every aspect in the city such as iShare, iGenerate, iProduce, iPlant, iWalk, iRecycle…etc.
We live now in a smart house, properly insolated, energy efficient and powered by a hybrid system made of BIPV, Solar Thermal and Vertical Wind Turbine. Houses now are tinier as we have access to the compound’s shared facilities such as sports center, kids’ playground, library…etc. All residential areas now are made of compounds which have their internal bike sharing systems, small farms to plant enough vegetables for the residents, waste corners and a Solar-Powered EV stations.
Irbid has become a pedestrian and biking friendly city, all vehicles are now electrical including ambulances and fire engines, and almost none has a car nowadays, if we need one, we can rent the compound’s electric car. Different compounds, universities, schools and business parks are connected through electric locomotive powered by CSP, PV, and wind power. This was built only five years ago after sodium batteries became commercially viable. Irbid became a zero energy city since then and the distributed energy generation helped in achieving this.
Employment issues have successfully been resolved especially after Amman’s bubble burst. It has been proven that it’s more feasible to open a business in Irbid than in any other place in Jordan. Thus, many startups have been founded over the past 10 years by students and fresh graduates and big corporate have opened branches in Irbid. People now call it the Jordanian Silicon Valley; many researches are being done here and many others work in power plants, farming and water desalination. Water is no longer an issue as its being now pumped from Aqaba, through a canal covered by solar PV to generate energy and reduce the evaporation.
No Waste is Going to Waste is one of my most favorite initiatives. It was launched back in 2017 by the housewives and female refugees who created thousands of jobs to themselves. Some local trendsetters have introduced EcoFashion to the community by recycling clothes into modern designs which are now being sold all over the MENA region.
Irbid has come a long way since 2015 through many small leaps and few big ones. Who would have thought urbanism can challenge the world’s most serious problems in a couple of decades and succeed?
–This blog is created for Masdar Engage Blogging Contest