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The role of advanced producer service firms in the development of urban diversity in Doha

Wiedmann, Florian and Conventz, Sven and Salama, Ashraf M. and Thierstein, Alain (2016) The role of advanced producer service firms in the development of urban diversity in Doha. In: Gulf Cities as Interfaces. Gulf Research Center Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, pp. 23-46. ISBN 978-1-909864-08-5

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Abstract

The paper traces the rapid transformation processes of Doha, Qatar’s capital city, both socio-economically and 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. Subsequently, an increasing number of international “Advanced Producer Service” (APS) firms set up offices in Doha, particularly attracted by emerging local real estate markets. In this paper, the authors attempt to clarify the distinct roles of APS firms and their employees in the development of urban complexity and diversity in Doha. They explore 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 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 on increasing urban qualities.