Qatar builds low-carbon urban district

A new urban district in Doha aims to bring new life to the old commercial district in Qatar’s capital — all the while adhering to the latest standards in green building and sustainable urban living.

According to an article by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Msheireb Downtown Doha – a new urban district currently under construction in the capital of Qatar – aspires to become “one of the largest sustainable cities in the world”.

Covering some 31 hectares, it aims to adhere to the highest standards in green building, including rainwater harvesting, solar water heaters, and overhangs designed to provide shade to the surrounding sidewalks. What’s more, the entire development is targeting LEED Gold minimum, with several buildings targeting LEED Platinum, explains Msheireb Properties, which is developing the district.

Under construction since 2010, the first residents are expected to move in to the mixed-use district in spring. In addition to being welcomed by the visible sustainable features, the district’s residents will also benefit from hidden ones, such as underground waste collection stations and systems that recover rainwater and air conditioning condensation for reuse as irrigation or residential water use like toilets.

But the project’s developers hope to achieve more than resource and energy efficiency; they also seek to “reverse the pattern of development in Doha” of inefficient land use and heavy reliance on car transportation.

As the article explains, the streets have been designed as “tunnels for air” that channel breezes through the area, and, when combined with trees and green spaces as well as tall buildings casting shade, the urban district hopes to get residents out of their cars by making walking easier and more comfortable.

Karim Elgendy, founder of Carboun, an initiative to promote sustainable cities in the Middle East, told Thomson Retuers that Msheireb is “a genuine effort to fix the city centre” and “the best example of urban regeneration” that he’s seen in the region in recent years.

Image credit: Msheireb Properties

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