June is Environment and Sustainability month here at the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC). By dedicating time and space to this subject, QAIC hopes to draw attention to poignant environmental issues, such as climate change, to protect our natural heritage for future generations.
Talk of the future often conjures up images of flying cars, advanced artificial intelligence, and space travel. But as this future approaches, present dangers are hindering the possibility of this reality.
Tackling climate change has become one of the most pressing matters of our time. While efforts to subdue the effects of climate change vary from country to country, Qatar is a nation taking noteworthy steps to improve the future. As a desert country nearly surrounded by water, Qatar is subject to both desertification and sea level rises. These dangers have made the country deeply attuned to current and future environmental issues, such as the unsustainability of natural resources, decreasing biodiversity, and climate change. Qatar recognizes the need to raise awareness and to take an active role in curtailing these long-term effects.
In 2008, Qatar created the Qatar National Vision for 2030 (QNV2030). According to the United Nations’ publication Qatar: Taking Action for Sustainable Development, Qatar’s development plans have largely focused on eight sectors:
- Economic Diversification
- Environment Sustainability
- Social Protection
- Public Safety And Security
- Culture and Sports
- International Technical Cooperation
Since the creation of these plans, sustainability projects have been incorporated into several of these sectors. From health centers to sports stadiums, sustainability has become an indispensable feature of construction. Such comprehensive development plans emphasize the importance of sustainability policies and projects in order to ensure a strong future for the nation.
Located near the first governance center of Qatar, Founder’s Fort, the area of Lusail has long been an important cultural site. Today, the cultural importance of this area is soaring to new heights as the site of Qatar’s first “smart” city. This city, Lusail City, is looking to protect and enhance the natural landscape. As the first development in Qatar to endorse the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS), a performance-based system that analyzes infrastructural sustainability in the MENA region, Lusail is an encouraging glimpse at the future of sustainable living.
The goal of the GSAS system is to encourage a limited impact on the natural environment. Through choices such as the strategic use of native flora and fauna, urban connectivity, and open space, Lusail is equipped to conserve water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reverse desertification, and more. Targeting large-scale issues that affect the entire country, Lusail will become an exemplary city in the wake of climate change.
These achievements will be a major focus during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, much of which will take place in Lusail.
Lusail City and its mission highlight how the sustainable option is not simply a smart choice in terms of conservation; it also improves the lives of residents, workers, and visitors. Lusail aims to be the “Smart Heart of the Future” by demonstrating how the intersection of technology and urban planning is focused on the interests of the greater community. The driving force behind Lusail, therefore, is “improving lives and empowering businesses through efficient and sustainable services.” As a blueprint city for the sustainable city of the future, Lusail values the integration of humans into communities that uplift the people and world around them.
Lusail was built to not only fulfill Qatar’s sustainability missions but to provide a glimpse at the future. Qatar’s QNV2030 plan is introducing a new kind of city to the entire world, and other countries ought to take notice. The development plan of Lusail City is illustrative of Qatar’s commitment to the safety of its people, security of the environment, and a brighter future for all.
This post was written by QAIC intern Alisa Grishin. Alisa is a senior at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. She is currently pursuing a BA in History with a concentration in Public History, as well as minors in Legal Studies and Political Science.