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Urban space diversity in Doha

Salama, Ashraf M. (2012) Urban space diversity in Doha. Urban Design, 2012 (124). pp. 17-19. ISSN 1750-712X

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Cities have always been highly differentiated places expressive of heterogeneity, a diversity of activities, entertainment, excitement, and pleasure. They have been and still are the melting pots for formulating and experimenting with new philosophies, and religious and social practices. They produce, reproduce, represent, and convey much of what counts today as culture, knowledge, and politics. Urban spaces within cities are no exception; they are places for the pursuit of freedom, un-oppressed activities and desires, but also ones characterised by power, systematic oppression, domination, exclusion, and segregation. In dealing with these polar qualities, diversity has become one of the new doctrines of city planners, urban designers and architects. It continues to be at the centre of recent urban debates. Little is known, however, about how planned public urban spaces produce social diversity, which aspects of diversity can be planned for, and what can be achieved spontaneously. This article examines some of these ideas within the context of the City of Doha, capital of Qatar.