Harvard University Graduate School of Design has signed an agreement to lead a research project entitled Gulf Encyclopedia for Sustainable Urbanism (GESU). This holistic, multi-year, cross-disciplinary, cross-border study focusing on sustainable urbanism in the Gulf Region is sponsored by MSHEIREB, a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation, Qatar. The methodology will be based on a rigorous understanding of the past, present and future development trajectories in the region as well as on the most current knowledge of sustainability.

Through a socio-cultural perspective, this research looks at the tribal migration patterns to and from Qatar and its affect on the concept of “fireeq”. The traditional culture of Qatar was largely based on this concept. It provided the social and physical fabric that bound the Qatari culture together. The research objective is to question and elucidate whether the concept of “fireeq” can be a culturally sustainable urban design model in contemporary times in Qatar.

Through a research survey of recorded oral histories and written historical accounts, an analysis will be made to determine the relevance of this concept in future residential and neighborhood planning studies for Qatar. This is part of a growing body of multi-disciplinary research to support and inform the goals of the Gulf Encyclopedia for Sustainable Urbanism.

Tribes first established their “fireeq” settlements in Qatar upon their physical attainment of land. In a socio-cultural context, the “fireeqs” were built and expanded as a means of survival; against the constant raids of other tribes; and as a manifestation of the tribal and family unity in a predominantly Muslim society. However, with the vast increase of migration of new families with varying value systems to Qatar in the 20th century and the ensuing life style changes came the act of co-modification of land. With the co-modification of land and transformations of socio-cultural customs and values, the actual applicability of the concept of the “fireeq” slowly began to fade. However, will some aspects of the “fireeq” concept evolve to be vitally effective and culturally important in the future well being and social patterns of Qatari communities' remains to be determined?


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error