DOHA MAPPING A magniloquent urban puzzle in search of a soul | The Plan
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DOHA MAPPING A magniloquent urban puzzle in search of a soul

For the first time TheCityPlan looks at one of the most talked of and representative cities of the Middle East: Doha, the capital of Qatar.

A very young city, founded in the early 1980s and originally named Al Bida, Doha today has more than one million inhabitants. Located on the Persian Gulf, it personifies wealth - thanks to the huge natural gas and oil reserves located mainly in the north of the state, but also on account of its recent unprecedented growth at a speed never before seen that has completely changed the face of the city in the last fifteen years.

The 5 GIS-based maps show Doha to be apparently without any striking contradictions. When compared against the other maps indicating services, natural contours, public transport and natural vegetation, the population map shows highest densities still in the old - or rather original - town. The other scattered high-density pockets correspond prevalently to the city’s numerous recent residential compounds, fenced in “urban islands” beyond the pale of what may be considered traditional urban life.

The contour map shows the city to lie on prevalently flat land. The surrounding desert has presented few constraints to urban expansion. Nor has the sea ever posed an obstacle, right from the outset simply considered a natural element to be dominated. An example is The Pearl neighborhood, newly built on an artificial island and now ready to house forty thousand people.

The services map too fits neatly against population density. The one exception is the still inadequate service provision in the new high-rise neighborhoods currently under construction where the only services thus far are the large hotels. From a cultural standpoint, however, Education City - the recent gigantic city housing university campuses and research facilities - is second to none on a world scale. Doha’s museums are also extraordinarily rich, both in terms of the collections...

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