As the capital of Qatar, Doha is undeniably in a state of profound change. The aspiration to complete significant additions to the built environment in time for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 coupled with the ambitious goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030 promise to continue this state of flux for the better part of the coming decade. Urban practice and research in Doha have been preoccupied with the master planning of new developments, often at the expense of existing neighborhoods and their inherent sustainable elements and character. Even in cases where efforts have been made to emulate ‘traditional’ forms of urbanism it remains to be resolved as to how this relates to traditional ways of living. At the local scale the public realm has often been neglected due to the rapid pace of development and a general prioritization of creating notable architectural objects over the generation of a cohesive and shared space between buildings. As a result, reliance on the automobile increases, personal health decreases, and the quality of social interaction deteriorates. Given this context, this paper proposes the development of an alternative to master planning; one that addresses different scales and is entrepreneurial in nature. The objective is to investigate and demonstrate – through the use of design tactics – a multidisciplinary approach to maximize the potential of Doha neighborhoods potential to become vibrant places with an active public realm that serves the community. With the vision of evolving into integrated sustainable neighborhoods, the focus becomes about creating an appropriate, inclusive, and tangible public realm rather than merely planning it. In this way, design is not just a solution to urban challenges but also a means to identify them, becoming inherent to both research and practice methodologies. The framework to test such an approach would involve identifying a relevant neighborhood, conducting localized spatial analysis; considering stakeholders and actors including governmental, private and community-based ones in all their diversity; designing tactics for developing the public realm and establishing a public platform to participate in such proposals. Ultimately, design tactics should be applied to examine their potential for broader implementation at the level of the city and to evaluate the efficacy of such a methodology.


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  • Received: 22 April 2015
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