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Abstract

Historically, urban ecology has been regarded as a mere extension of human ecology in the urban setting, and has been exercised as a science of parts. For example, urbanization has been studied in isolation of its effects on ecosystem services, richness of biodiversity and climate change. In recent years, concepts of sustainability have been infused into the science of urban ecology, and thus whole cities are viewed as integral ecosystem entities, impacted by urbanization and requiring interdisciplinary approaches of study. It may be argued that desert countries facing imminent desertification, especially those in the Arabian Gulf currently undergoing rampant infrastructural and industrial development, are in a more pressing need for an urban ecological design that would ameliorate the negative impacts of such development on air and soil quality. Additionally, climate change due to urbanization and the increased need for water desalination incur heat island effects and lead to deterioration of water quality, another strong driver to desertification. Qatar offers a very exciting challenge when it comes to urban ecological design and study, as it is a country that is still being developed; it is a country that has recognized the need for a sustainable development framework as that is showcased in the Qatar National Vision 2030; and it is a country whose Master Urban Plan is still not finalized, leaving room for implementation of best practices for a rich urban ecology. In this paper, we discuss aspects of air and water quality, and propose an urban ecological design that favors selection of indigenous and desert-adapted biota to conserve natural resources, conserve biodiversity and improve human well-being.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qproc.2016.qgbc.42
2016-11-09
2019-11-21
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