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Transit-oriented development in West Bay, Business District of Doha, State of Qatar: A strategy for enhancing liveability and sense of place

Mahmoud Al Saeed (Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)
Raffaello Furlan (Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 3 May 2019

Issue publication date: 8 July 2019




West Bay, the Business District of Doha, the capital city of the State of Qatar, is facing an urban regeneration phase due to the construction of the West Bay Central Train Station, a four-storey underground building hosting the intersection of two metro lines – one long-distance train and one people mover. The development of the transit village, or transit-oriented development, is raising concerns related to the need to enhance liveability (as urban quality of life) and sense of place (considering the local cultural identity). The purpose of this paper is to investigate existing urban elements, such as transit stations, as well as their impact on the liveability and identity of the place and to define a comprehensive urban regeneration strategy for the development of the distinctive urban village of West Bay.


The analysis and data collection were based on the type of data as tangible aspects which mainly include the physical, and aspects such as diversity, density, connectivity, transportation systems and public realm. Intangible factors are concluded from close and direct site observation, semi-structured in-depth interviews, as a face-to-face type of data collection with key persons in Qatar Rail, the Ministry of the Municipality and public work authorities, where the intangible aspects were briefed by economic aspects, environmental situation, social pattern and human behaviours. After siting the base ground of theoretical knowledge and site condition analysis, the authors identified a group of key factors that respond to the targeted (tangible and intangible) aspects and threats, to propose a design treatment for the site threats and highlighted issues in addition to a group of recommendations and design strategies (Charmaz, 2006; Marshall and Rossman, 2010).


From the data analysis of the site and by revisiting the literature review, a group of recommendations are formulated. The authors divided the recommendations into two types according to their method of application. The first is the design approach, where the authors propose integrated design proposals to tackle and solve the highlighted issues from the findings of site analysis (diversity, density, connectivity in addition to economic, social and environmental factors). Meanwhile, the second part represents the systematic recommendations that should be adopted and implemented to enhance the existing situation and form a guideline for further developments.

Research limitations/implications

This research study could be further expanded to urban planning, urban design, social development and environmental engineering. Urban design and social development chiefly focus on the relationship between built and unbuilt forms with an eye to creating healthy, sustainable communities for current and future generations.


Because issues of social sustainability and urban design have failed to attract suitable levels of attention from local scholars, gaps have arisen in the research. Accordingly, this research study investigates the relationship between social sustainability and urban design standards in the State of Qatar with an eye to translating theoretical knowledge into applicable principles of urban planning. In doing so, it will help close the gaps in knowledge related to Qatar and GCC countries.



This research study, initiated as an assignment at the core-course “Urban Design in Practice” (MUPD 711 – Fall 2017) taught by Dr Raffaello Furlan at Qatar University, College of Engineering, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP), for the Master in Urban Planning and Design Programme (MUPD), was developed as part of two research project schemes: QUST–1–CENG–2019–21 titled “Investigating the Urban-design Key-principles for the Urban Regeneration of the Transit Villages along the Al Wakrah Metro Corridor”, awarded and funded by Qatar University; UREP 22-005-5-003 titled “The Urban Regeneration of Third Places in Contemporary Islamic Cities: Strategies for Enhancing Livability of Commercial Streets in Doha (Qatar)”, awarded and funded from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF, a member of Qatar Foundation). The authors would like to express their gratitude to the leading planners and architects of Qatar’s Government Agencies and Ministries, namely, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), Qatar Rail, Qatar Museums Authority, Ashgal Public Works Authority and Qatar Rail for their collaboration, for participating in the meetings, sharing visual data and cardinal documents relevant to the research aims, and for discussing the results and conclusion of this investigation. Finally, the authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments, which contributed to an improvement of this paper. The authors are solely responsible for the statements made herein.


Al Saeed, M. and Furlan, R. (2019), "Transit-oriented development in West Bay, Business District of Doha, State of Qatar: A strategy for enhancing liveability and sense of place", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 394-429.



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