Msheireb Properties and Qatar Foundation (QF) have officially launched the 'Gulf Sustainable Urbanism Book', researched and written by Harvard University, during a special event held at Msheireb Museums - Msheireb Downtown Doha and also through a simultaneous virtual online platform that broadcast the event live.
The special ceremony was attended by Msheireb Properties and QF officials, including Ali al-Kuwari, acting CEO of Msheireb Properties; HE Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali al-Thani, Qatar Foundation cultural adviser; Dr Hafez Ali, Msheireb Museums director; Issa al-Mohannadi, chairman of Qatar Green Building Council; and Harvard University professors, along with VIP guests and delegates from the region.
A moment from the launch event
The 'Gulf Sustainable Urbanism Book' is an in-depth study sponsored and supported by Msheireb Properties and QF, researched and written by the School of Design at Harvard University. The research is an outcome of a decade of field research to establish a holistic framework documenting, analysing and deciphering the principles of urban sustainability of 10 selected case study cities in eight countries in the Gulf region.
In his opening remarks, al-Kuwari said: “Sustainable buildings are a significant factor in protecting our environment, preserving our natural resources and reducing water and electricity consumption in the long term. Our region needs such study and analysis as a solid base for the present and the future construction trends. The 'Gulf Sustainable Urbanism Book' will be an excellent sustainability and urban planning reference for academic institutions, universities and libraries. It is a solid foundation to understand the construction and social trends back then and how it impacted the socio-economical aspects."
“This groundbreaking research knowledge holds the potential to be transformed into useful guidance for making holistic, sustainable decisions for the Gulf region's future urbanism. Sustainability is a core pillar and value to our company. It clearly replicates our flagship project, Msheireb Downtown Doha, the most sustainable city district in the world," he added.
HE Sheikh Hassan reiterated QF's role in supporting and conducting the research. He said the 'Gulf Sustainable Urbanism Book' meets all the significant needs in documenting a scientific reference in the Gulf region for researchers, experts and students. He stressed the book's conclusions' importance, which create a specific identity and forms for the Gulf architecture.
Al-Mohannadi discussed how the research focused on the past of the cities on the Gulf's coastal line scientifically and professionally. He reiterated that the book should be continuously updated and completed to include the present and future phases to make it a legacy for the coming generations.
Through a live video conference call, Prof Spiro Pollalis from the University of Harvard talked about the excellent collaboration between Msheireb Properties, QF and Harvard University to issue this critical book. At the same time, his colleague Prof Nader Ardalan stressed the collaboration with Gulf researchers to obtain the required data, analysis and findings listed in the book.
The electronic version of the book was presented by Prof Angela Kouveli from Harvard University, who explored the main components and scope of research of the 'Gulf Sustainable Urbanism Book' , as well as the best way to explore this electronic version of the book.
The 'Gulf Sustainable Urbanism Book' is available in an electronic version and a special print edition of 900 pages, sized 11" x17" in two volumes with nearly 1,000 illustrations/analytical diagrams in high-quality graphics.
The book is the result of more than nine years of research; it started in 2011, with the first phase completed in 2020. The study covers three periods: past, present and the future.
Harvard University has completed the first phase, 'The Past', and released the first part of the book, which covers 10 cities in eight countries bordering the Gulf's coastal zone: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iran and Iraq. The study framework was based upon three research topics: Environment/Public Health, Social/Cultural/Economic and Urban Form/Architecture.
These research topics are studied at four ‘scales’: region, city, neighbourhood and dwelling unit.
Following the official launch, a special panel discussion was moderated by Prof John Spengler from Harvard University. It gathered Ibrahim Jaidah, Group CEO and chief architect of Arab Engineering Bureau; Dr Rogaia Abusharaf, professor of Anthropology at Georgetown University in Qatar; Dr Andreas Georgoulias, Harvard University; and Reza Pourvaziry, first global advocate of UN-Habitat.
The launch event will be followed by online panel discussions on October 14 and 21 (with two sessions each day) to discuss different topics related to "the historic environment, culture and economy of the Gulf region", "the development of urbanism, and public health of the Gulf region", "the traditional neighbourhoods and architecture of the Gulf region" and a special session titled "The study of the past inform future sustainable urbanism in the Gulf".
For more information and registration, one can visit www.gsubooklaunch.com