Kuwait is the Past, Dubai is the Present, Doha is the Future: Informational Cities on the Arabian Gulf

Kuwait is the Past, Dubai is the Present, Doha is the Future: Informational Cities on the Arabian Gulf

Julia Gremm (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany), Julia Barth (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany) and Wolfgang G. Stock (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSR.2015040103
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Abstract

Many cities in the world define themselves as ‘smart.' Is this term appropriate for cities in the emergent Gulf region? This article investigates seven Gulf cities (Kuwait City, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Muscat) that have once grown rich due to large reserves of oil and gas. Now, with the threat of ending resources, governments focus on the development towards a knowledge society. The authors analyzed the cities in terms of their ‘smartness' or ‘informativeness' by a quantitative survey and by in-depth qualitative interviews (N = 34). Especially Doha in Qatar is well on its way towards an informational city, but also Dubai and Sharjah (both in the United Arab Emirates) make good scores.
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3. Gulf Cities

The presented results cover all larger Gulf cities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states: Kuwait City (Kuwait), Manama (Bahrain), Doha (Qatar), Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah (all United Arab Emirates) and Muscat (Oman). Since no Saudi Arabian metropolis is located at the Gulf coast, we bracket cities in Saudi Arabia out. The case studies of these cities were conducted on-site, i.e., all cities were visited by the research team.

The states in the Gulf region have grown rapidly due to their large reserves of oil and gas. Being aware of ending resources, the era after the oil is already being planned by the governments in the Gulf region (Höselbarth, 2010). The main goal of Doha is to build on knowledge: “As the Qatar economy diversifies more from its reliance on gas and oil, success will increasingly depend on the ability to compete in a global knowledge economy. Educating and training Qataris to their full potential will be critical to continuing progress” (GSDP, 2011, p. 13). Dubai describes two knowledge-based aims: (1) “Preparing Dubai’s workforce for the high-value, knowledge-driven economy, which requires attracting and retaining highly skilled employees, improving Nationals’ qualifications and increasing their motivation” and (2) “Turning Dubai into a vibrant science and technology hub in targeted sectors, by supporting the development of existing sectors, and establishing the right environment for nurturing the post 2015 economy” (Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, 2007, p.22). The propositions of the diverse master plans of the Gulf cities are clear: They prepare for the entering into the knowledge society.

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