Qatar is likely to host a major regional centre that aims to develop sustainable cities and urban societies.
The Urban Land Institute (ULI), a non-profit research and educational organisation for land use and creating thriving communities worldwide, is in the process of setting up a research centre in the region through a series of round table discussions with public and private stakeholders, according to ULI officials.
“ULI MENA is trying to explore strategic development issues in the region and tackle the problem of having sustainable cities which provide high-quality living conditions,” said William P Kistler, President of ULI (MENA).
“These sustainable cities of tomorrow should be able to attract people despite the increasing population, giving the best quality of life and ensuring the best use of energy. These cities strive for economic, social and environmental sustainability with the apt use of energy, technology and globalised capital markets.”
Doha is doing a lot towards having a sustainable community, according to him. “The authorities here have recognised that quality of life is a major factor in any society. It has economy and industry diversification which attracts the best people from around the world. The cities that are successful have always had people of mixed culture and accommodate people from different financial strata. Added to this are green and sustainable elements of the city, which Doha is currently focusing on. Also, it has put major stress on reinstating country’s cultural identity, which a lot of cities in their development forget. Qatar, despite its rapid growth, is very conscious of its history and tradition, proving itself an example for the whole region,” he told The Peninsula.
These development strategies of Qatar can bring ULI’s research centre here. The ULI MENA Research Center will work to create a framework for industry and community leaders to help shape thriving, sustainable communities. The initial cost of the centre is expected to be above $15m and it could go up depending on the depth and areas of research.
As the first step towards this research centre, ULI has initiated a series of round table discussions in various cities in the region, including Doha. The round table has been organised based on ULI’s initiative, “The City in 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change,” which examines trends and factors shaping the design and development of cities in the 21st century.
As a close to these discussions, on March 22 and 23 , ULI will organise two-day forum entitled “The City in 2050: Building Tomorrow’s Legacy, Today,” in Oman.
The conference will bring in international experts in sustainable development with key regional leaders and decision makers to explore how global best practices in land use and lessons learned can be applied locally. On the summit’s first day, a small group of invited industry leaders will discuss forces shaping cities both internationally and in the MENA region.
The discussions, which will be moderated by internationally renowned meeting facilitator Chris Grant, will result in a range of 2050 scenarios that will form the basis for debates the following day. On the second day, a larger group of public- and private-sector leaders from the MENA region and worldwide will explore the scenarios, identify the ones most likely to occur, and pinpoint opportunities for land use, real estate and urban development. A strategic agenda will be developed from this to provide attendees with a framework for building a land use legacy of long-term value and sustainability.
The summit will mark the beginning of an ongoing series of activities by ULI MENA to promote leadership, initiate research and define best case outcomes for land use in the MENA region. The initiative aims to engage multi-disciplinary stakeholders through dedicated research clubs, additional roundtable discussions and other events culminating in the establishment of a ULI MENA Research Center, which Qatar has high chance to host.
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