4D Doha is a both an art installation and a repository of information about Doha's growth over time. It is the result of a research project undertaken by professors and students of Carnegie Mellon and is funded by Qatar Foundation. This website and installation is led by Kelly Hutzell and Rami el Samahy, with team members Kristina Ricco, Spencer Gregson and Blake Lam.

The pace of change in Doha, Qatar over the last sixty years challenges the imagination: new buildings and even new land has been created as the city has grown from a tiny village to one vying for world-class status. Infrastructure projects aim to strengthen the country's connections to the region and the global economy, while planned mega-scale mixed-use projects will expand the capital city of Doha to more than twice its current size.

4D Doha addresses these transformations by tracing the physical growth of the city across time through an interactive display that allows users to track a variety of changes through different eras, from the pre-oil period of 1947, through the current expansion facilitated by natural gas extraction, followed by the potential for continued diversified economic and physical growth. The project focuses on making spatial what was once only available as two-dimensional information, allowing one to examine the morphology of the buildings, the road network, and landfill additions creating sea ports, airports and causeways. Data has been acquired through a critical urban reading of historical aerial imagery, as well as current Geographic Information Systems (GIS) information. Through British aerial surveys of the country taken periodically from the late 1940's to early 1980, as well as subsequent aerial views, the project team created a series of twelve historical mappings, tracing the transformation of the city from 1947 to the GIS information for the present day. The two-dimensional urban fabric was then three-dimensionally modeled using Rhinoceros and City Engine software programs. Final processing allows one to access the interface through three distinct portals: view, time and data. These hypermedia maps integrate both narratives and historical images so that one encounters interpretative pathways while exploring the interface.

The initial phase of the project is intended to serve as a catalyst to collect and disseminate further content on Qatar's urban growth. It is the aim that the project be both an educational website, slated to debut in fall 2010, as well as a permanent installation in the Carnegie Mellon Qatar building on Education City's campus.


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  1. K. Hutzell, R. El Samahy, K. Ricco, S. Gregson, 4D Doha: mapping Qatar's built environment over time, QFARF Proceedings, 2010, AHP6.
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