Tribune News Network
The Social and Economic Survey Research Institute at Qatar University (QU)is organising a research event titled ‘Sustainability of Urban Life in Qatar and the Gulf Region: Workshop on Measures and Methodologies’, sponsored and funded by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).
The event kick-off was attended by Minister of Municipality HE Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, Dr. Hassan bin Rashid Al-Derham, president of Qatar University; Dr. Kaltham bin Ali Al-Ghanim, director of the Institute; Dr. Mehmet Duman, secretary-general of the United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia (UCLG-MEWA); an accompanying delegation; and several university staff members.
Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, praised the importance of this workshop and the university’s research efforts. He stated, “We strive hard to improve the quality of life, sustainability, and level of ‘urban humanisation’ in the state of Qatar through the implementation of the comprehensive urban plan of the country, which aims to create an ideal model for sustainable urban life in the twenty-first century and achieve the highest level of quality of living and welfare for citizens and residents on the land of Qatar.” He also mentioned a number of projects implemented by the ministry that contribute to enhancing the quality of life and sustainability.
For his part, Dr. Hassan Al-Derham, the president of the university, mentioned that this is the first workshop of its kind aimed at discussing and developing innovations in measurement methodologies and modernity for assessing the quality of urban life in Qatar and the Gulf region. Its importance stems from the fact that Qatar and the Gulf countries are currently heavily investing in the development of their cities and urban centres to improve the quality of life and well-being of their people. This workshop represents a tremendous opportunity to exchange ideas on entirely new methods and measures regarding the fundamental dimensions of sustainability and the ability to enhance the quality of life and human well-being in the context of urban development policy in Qatar and the Gulf countries. It also serves as a significant platform for presenting innovative contributions through a place-based approach that focuses on the population.
He added, “I have full confidence that this diverse group of specialized experts, researchers, academics, government officials, and private sector representatives will actively participate today and tomorrow in brainstorming and managing discussions on the challenges of urban development policies and the path to sustainable cities.”
In turn, Dr. Kaltham Al-Ghanim, the institute director, said, “This workshop aims to open the field for free scientific discussions on studying and assessing the levels of urban quality of life in Qatar and the Gulf. The Gulf region is considered one of the most urbanized areas in the world. Urbanisation speed is not the only issue; but the more significant matter is the transition towards sustainable or smart cities that target human well-being and urban quality of life. Urban policy stakeholders in the Gulf region need accurate data and indicators that illustrate these dimensions as the essence of the transformative policy goals towards sustainable cities and the qualitative urban development agenda.”
She added, “The current urban development potentials in the Gulf region, in order to become sustainable and of high quality, require new methods and measures, including evidence-based research procedures. Early implementation of well-designed quality of life assessment processes will reveal unsustainable actions and provide guidance on how to avoid undesirable development paths. Despite significant work in these areas in advanced countries, there have been limited efforts to identify indicators and measures specific to urban quality of life in Gulf countries. From our perspective, there are four interconnected dimensions for driving urban development: sustainability, urban behaviour, well-being, and urban quality of life, which urban policy stakeholders must consider. Currently, life satisfaction, happiness, ethical self-respect, security and trust, life expectations, beliefs, and aspirations are essential components of quality of life and well-being, beyond just the social and economic aspects of human well-being. In this context, the potential challenges of our modern urban lifestyle are multifaceted and have unequal impacts at the local, regional, and global levels, requiring further research and study.”
Dr. Al-Ghanim emphasised that the aim of today’s workshop is to identify the dimensions of a multidimensional scale that contributes to monitoring, measuring, and evaluating the quality of urban life and the foundations of sustainability within it. “We look forward to developing a comprehensive methodological framework for evaluating different-dimensional structures and conducting a longitudinal national study for the State of Qatar using a multidimensional scale to measure the quality of urban life”.
She also indicated that evidence-based research to support public policies in social and economic development planning in Qatar, in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030, will move forward by refocusing on building strong research evidence for informed decision-making across government stakeholders. This will be achieved through the initiation of a new research agenda in Qatar and the Gulf region, focusing on building indicators related to civilization, sustainable cities, consumption values, behaviour, quality of life, and well-being, as well as indicators of social change, migration, the future outlook of the labour market, and much more.