Creating sustainable urban environments is one of the biggest challenges that the Middle East will be facing over the coming years. Fueled by an economic boom that adds pressure on available resources, Qatar, like other countries in the region, is at a crossroads to rethink its approach to urban planning and design to create more sustainable built environments on a macro level and redefine the impact of its future cities. First steps have already been taken as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to realize the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030.This presentation highlights sustainability rating systems as tools that enable planners and designers to redefine their approach to creating neighborhoods and cities in the Middle East. It examines LEED Neighborhoods and GSAS Districts as two rating systems that are currently applied in Qatar and sheds some light on their structure, scope and application to projects. Comparing both systems reveals unique aspects for each but most importantly highlights important similarities when it comes to defining sustainability on an urban scale. Analyzing both shows the importance of considering a number of key factors that make cities more resilient: buildings, infrastructure, transportation, social and cultural factors, security, the use of natural resources and other important factors. These tools can also provide insight into how well new urban environments would perform, revealing valuable lessons for everyone to learn from.


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  • Received: 22 April 2015
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