A Holistic Assessment of Education City in Doha: The Borderless Knowledge Hub

A Holistic Assessment of Education City in Doha: The Borderless Knowledge Hub

Ali A. Alraouf (Qatar Urban Planning, Qatar)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3734-2.ch012
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Qatar, while developing its vision for the future, decided to adopt the knowledge economy as the new pillar for its economy and development. The chapter focuses on examining the impact of the one of the main and iconic national mega project in the capital Doha, the project named Education City (EC). The chapter scrutinizes EC's contribution to a more resilient future for Qatar. The chapter assesses the relative roles of such an influential project in preparing or hindering Qatar's moving towards the post-carbon paradigm. The project is examined using multilayered criteria, which include achieving urban diversity, relevance to knowledge-based urban development, supporting the diversification of the local economy, and accommodating multicultural society. The chapter concludes that education city is the most crucial urban projects in Qatar geared towards sustaining the knowledge economy as it creates ripples of change, knowledge dissemination, and a culture of innovation and creativity within the city.
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Since the 1970s, the small Arab states in the Gulf region have managed to transform from primitive Bedouin societies into giants of economic growth and urban development. The Gulf States while mostly young and small, they are the largest builders and developers in the world. Every single capital Gulf city is characterized with shopping malls, skyscrapers, artificial islands, gigantic airports, real-estate fantasies and landmark museums. Yet, they have also realized that another transformation is needed from oil-based to post-oil societies. With oil resources running out or prices are dropping sorely, a focus on the post-oil era is a priority. Assessing the pace of urban development in contemporary Gulf cities revealed a number of critical issues (Wippel, 2014). On one hand, the speed of development has social cost, negative relation with the past and the claim for identity loss. On the other hand, such rapid developments contributed to economic diversification, cultural tourism and city branding (Dinnie, 2011). The overarching issue is exploring critically the ways in which the Gulf States prepare for the post-oil era, by diversification of their assets, boosting real estate sector, and creating a knowledge economy. Hertog (2016) illustrates how the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) oil monarchies have been using their oil wealth to buy the accoutrements of ‘good citizenship’ and ‘progressiveness’ in the international arena through costly policy projects that involve urban interventions like the building of international museums, universities and ‘zero-carbon cities’ – urban enclaves with an audience that is almost exclusively international. This interpretation is valid for some Gulf States particularly the Emirate of Dubai. The mega projects reflect a desire to gain international recognition via exhibiting full adoption of Western norms and influential principals. The case of Masdar city in Abu Dhabi which was declared as ‘the first zero-carbon city’ in the world and ended up with a deserted real-estate project is a compelling evidence (Goldenberg, 2016). Yet, for a more holistic understanding one can’t see all the cultural and educational projects in all Gulf cities as a catalyst for Western recognition. For that reason, the case of Doha is stimulating as such interventions are made to pave the way for a new development vison structured upon the value of knowledge economy and knowledge-based urbanity. In the coming section, the chapter illustrates Qatar’s strategy towards investment in knowledge-based urban development. The case of Education City (EC), the unprecedented model within the whole world will be extensively analyzed a multi layered approach discussing the hierarchy of the project’s development from a strategic level all the way to the quality of architecture and urbanism.

Figure 1.

Doha concluded that moving from oil based urbanism to KBUD is a must strategy for a more sustainable future (©Alraouf)


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