Architectural and urban research for an enhanced decision-making on urban dynamics of emerging cities

Impact: Impact - for External PortalEnvironment and sustainability - natural world and built environment, Professional practice, training and standards, Quality of life and safety

  • Salama, Ashraf (Participant)
  • Thierstein, Alain (Participant)
  • Wiedmann, Florian (Participant)

Who is affected

The Context of the Arabian Peninsula/Middle East:
- Developers/Real-estate Development Companies
- Local Ministries / Authorities
- Professional Planners, Urban Designers, Architects
The Global Context:
- The International Academic Community


This research interrogates urban qualities in emerging regional metropolises with a focus on the capital city of Qatar, Doha. It enables a clearer identification of current potentials in Doha’s urban environment by addressing the challenge of increasing dependency on growth strategies instead of consolidated policies with a positive impact on urban space.

In various forms research findings have influenced different types of beneficiaries: the private sector (developers/real-estate development companies) and the public sector (National Master Planning Team at the Ministry of Municipalities and Urban Planning in Qatar--MMUP) in addition to professional planners and urban designers. Through series of empirical investigations of current economic diversification processes and their relations to the evolution of urban space findings have contributed to the international discourse/academic community on the inter-dependencies of knowledge economies and the built environment in emerging cities.

Undertaking interactional modes of knowledge exchange including workshops with stakeholders the findings have been shared and debated. Research thrust, framework, and results have received considerable coverage in both public media (two interviews—QNRF Newsletter, and Gulf Times News Paper) and several public presentations in various international conferences and local and international academic institutions (including book launch events in Doha-Qatar and Naples, Italy). Findings have been disseminated through the international refereed press (over 20 journal papers and  book chapters on the topic), and through a book (Demystifying Doha: On Architecture and Urbanism in an Emerging City-Ashgate 2013), which is currently utilized as a textbook in various postgraduate urban design and planning programs of academic institutions, both in the Middle East (Qatar University, Hamad Bin Khalifa University) and is a source for scholars conducting research on the Middle East in various universities worldwide. The Master planning team of the MMUP has benefited from key results relevant to decision making on urbanism in Doha including issues related to: a) the impact of economic diversification on urban structure and ecological efficiency and the resulting enclave developments, b) traffic congestion, lack of construction standards and missing social infrastructure have been identified as the key challenges to establish livability and enhance the quality of urban life, and c) the role cultural and ethnic background, gender and age play in perceiving urban qualities including accessibility, connectivity, urban identity and diversity.

Additional findings are being developed for future publications and are presented through various dissemination mechanisms including workshops, public lectures, and seminars. Further studies of the similar nature can be developed to address other emerging cities. The Cluster for Research in Architecture and Urbanism of Cities in the Global South (CRAUCGS) would enable these future endeavors.

Category of impact

  • Environment and sustainability - natural world and built environment
  • Professional practice, training and standards
  • Quality of life and safety

    Research areas

  • Emerging cities, Urban Qualities, Global South, Architecture, Urbanism
  1. Lifestyle trends and housing typologies in emerging multicultural cities

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Public spaces and everyday practices of migrant labour in Gulf cities

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

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  1. The First International Conference on Mosque Architecture

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventKey-note speaker and plenary lectures at conferences

  2. Open House International (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workJournal or guest editorship

  3. Open House International (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workJournal or guest editorship

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  1. The Quality of Urban Life in Sub-Sharan African Cities

    Project: Research Studentship - Internally Allocated

  2. Studentship for Characterisation of Architecture and Urbanism of Cities in the Global South

    Project: Research Studentship - Internally AllocatedResearch Studentship (Internally Allocated)

  3. Contextual Characteristics of Housing Transformation in North African Cities: The Case of Tripoli-Libya (Global South Project)

    Project: Research Studentship - Internally AllocatedResearch Studentship (Internally Allocated)

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