Inexhaustible Ambition: Two Eras of Planning in Doha, Qatar

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Architects and researchers in urban design, Kelly Hutzell, Rami el Samahy and Adam Himes, reflect on how the present structure of Doha in Qatar is a result of intermittent state interventions - failures as well as successes. They explain how these sporadic initiatives manifested themselves in two main bursts of activity: 1971-86 and 1999 to the present day.

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... In Qatar, like Kazakhstan, modernity has been a major theme in the grand capital city development scheme in Doha, where it is built into the landscape in many ways. The large-scale investments in the city have been going on for several decades and parallel to a broader trend across the Gulf Arab states to showcase their prosperity and hyper-modern vision for the nation's future through iconic new towers, hotels, museums, sports venues and more (see Adham 2008;Mahgoub and Qawasmeh 2012;Rizzo 2013;Gierlichs 2014;Koch 2014aKoch , 2018aKoch , 2018bKoch , 2019aKoch , 2019bHutzell et al. 2015;Salama and Wiedmann 2013;Mtapuri and Giampiccoli 2017). Qatar's citizenship laws are such that only about 10 percent of its population are citizens. ...
... nd half of the twentieth century, Doha has witnessed its first urbanization 127 period due to the increase of oil production processes. The rapid economic growth has led to the 128 transformation of Doha's built environment. The governmental strategies of economic diversification129 and living condition improvements were set to build the city image(Hutzell et. al., 2015; Salama et. 130 al., 2017). This has resulted in rapid population growth and high migrants-to-nationals ratio.131 The urban fabric of Doha was shaped as a result of landfill policies over recent decades, which 132 has started form the downtown area, forming a radial form of planning. Throughout the years, the 133 planning policies inDoha ...
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The neighborhood concept was first introduced in the 1920s by Clarence Perry. This paper adapts Clarence Perry's neighborhood concept and other neighborhood planning theories. It studies the land use dynamics of Fereej Abdul Aziz, one of downtown neighborhoods in Doha. The theory is reinterpreted to study three parameters: physical, mobility, and social aspects. The main objective is to empirically investigate the dynamics of existing land uses of downtown neighborhoods. The study aims at exploring types of land activities and their existing conditions in the study area. The findings aid in making land use guidelines for the downtown neighborhoods in Doha while considering preferences of the inhabitants. The study provides useful insights and efficient planning preference for land use changes in downtown neighborhoods that occur due to the rapid urban growth not only in Doha but also in other emerging cities.
... The rapid economic growth has led to the transformation of Doha's built environment. The governmental strategies of economic diversification and living condition improvements were set to build the city image (Hutzell, El Samahy, and Himes 2015). This has resulted in rapid population growth and high expatriates-to-nationals ratio. ...
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The study of land use dynamics in emerging cities will inform sustainable development in the future. Doha has witnessed urban transition phases. The study objectives are: (1) conduct a review of neighbourhood planning theories and (2) develop a prototype for downtown land use dynamics in emerging cities. The developed prototype considers physical and socioeconomics aspects. The research tools are: content analysis of real-estate reports, observation study, and preferences survey. Fereej Abdulaziz has been selected as an example. The study emphasizes the importance of policymakers in analysing the changes of neighbourhood, with an overarching aim of guiding future growth.
... The solution could be the planned railway network-with "151 km (94 miles) of line and 48 stations" (Hutzell, el Samahy, & Himes, 2015, p. 89)-which will range from the city center of Doha to Education City on the outskirts (Shaaban & Radwan, 2014). Spurred by the imminent host of the World Cup, the effort on the railway project has been ramped up (Hutzell et al., 2015). Qatar National Convention Center. ...
The state of Qatar is in the minds of the people a wealth country that is able to rely on its oil and gas reserves. Because the reserves shrink little by little, the country faces the task of disengaging from this dependence in the nearest future. First steps were made by developing the tourism and MICE sector in a quite successful way. However, it is still a long way and a huge challenge for the country. The time will tell if they meet this challenge or if they decide for another option: the investment in foreign projects or companies.
The state of Qatar and its capital Doha are undeniably in a state of profound change. In this current phase of rapid development, neighborhoods, and especially their public realms, have often been neglected due to the prioritization of creating notable architectural objects that support national development plans. Without conscious and sensitive attention toward developing these spaces, it is difficult to encourage communal relations and practices at the point of residence. Built environment practitioners face unique challenges when planning Doha. Qatar's population has dramatically increased in both numbers and diversity, resulting in resident communities that hold different expectations of and needs from the city. Moreover, traditional living is not commonly associated with urban communities; a lingering question remains regarding how the built environment can preserve tradition and identity. Planning approaches in Doha have oscillated between rational comprehensive planning and entrepreneurial and management planning and, as a result, have overlooked the micro-scale of the neighborhood. Recent developments in policy approaches to urban planning, including the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Qatar National Master Plan, include potentials and constraints to address the public realm in neighborhoods. Building on these policy foundations, that focus on the scale of the neighborhood and support local mechanisms for community participation, two entry tactics are developed as actions to be taken by governmental authorities: establish an urban forum at the neighborhood scale and launch a public awareness campaign.