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The impact of economic diversification on urban morphologies in Doha : an interdisciplinary assessment

Salama, Ashraf M and Wiedmann, Florian and Thierstein, Alain (2013) The impact of economic diversification on urban morphologies in Doha : an interdisciplinary assessment. Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum Proceedings, 2013. SSHP-017.

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Abstract

As many Gulf cities Qatar's capital city Doha has undergone rapid transformation processes socio-economically as well as spatially since the end of the 20th century. Large-scale public investments in local developments that were intended to establish Doha as a regional and international service hub ushered in a new evolutionary phase in the city's urbanism. An increasing number of international "Advanced Producer Service" (APS) firms set up offices in Doha, particularly attracted by emerging local real-estate markets. This research attempts to clarify the distinct roles of Knowledge Economies and their employees in the development of urban complexity and diversity in Doha. It therefore explores currently existing APS networks in Doha as well as the morphological consequences for urban fabrics due to the recent economic diversification process. The applied methodologies include a network analysis of 98 APS firms in order to investigate the current characteristics of advanced producer services sectors in Doha. The dynamics in recent urban developments are investigated using a comparative assessment of GIS data of the city in 2003 and 2013 as well as a Space Syntax analysis, which is used to investigate the spatial integration of office locations in Doha. Furthermore, 350 questionnaires of employees engaged in APS firms were evaluated in order to examine the locations of their weekly activities. These empirical investigations of various parameters within contemporary urbanism provide insights into how the transition into a service hub based on emerging knowledge economies and their networks is currently interdependent with increasing urban qualities.