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QF’s Education City Speaker Series explores pathways towards regenerative development

QF’s Education City Speaker Series explores
pathways towards regenerative development

Ailyn Agonia
Experts tackled how regenerative development can point the way towards a safe and prosperous planet in the latest edition of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Education City Speaker Series.
Titled ‘Beyond Sustainability: Imagining A Regenerative Future’, the international platform explored the concept of regenerative development and focused on a form of global development that aims to allow human and natural systems to co-exist for the resilience and prosperity of the planet.
The event looked at regenerative development’s roots in indigenous culture, where and how it is already being embraced, and what it can make possible, as well as how it can be applied in different cultural contexts.
Ibrahim Mohamed Jaidah, group CEO and chief architect of Arab Engineering Bureau, spoke about how Qatar is working to build a better future and pointed out how the country has managed to increase its food security by 400 percent in the last three years.
He said there is an interest and many opportunities in Qatar to explore the concept of regenerative development that would recreate what the country has lost with its tremendous growth.
“The amount of construction that has been done in the last 20 to 25 years is more than that of the last 100 years – there has been tremendous growth. But we are fortunate as we have recognised in the last decade or so that we have overconsumed our part of the Earth. With the steps we have taken, in the last 10 to 15 years, we have started to recover, to regenerate. For example, in the last three years, Qatar has managed to increase food security by 400 percent. If we continue this way, we’ll be self-sufficient in just a handful of years,” said Jaidah.
He also cited the project they are working on that aims to recreate an old neighbourhood in Qatar, combining the elements from their ancestors with the contemporary way of life, as among the examples of the application of the progressive concept in the country. He said the plan has been well-received by the policymakers and is likely to come to life in the first quarter of next year.
Jaidah went on to speak about the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 -- the infrastructure, sustainability and the legacy of the stadiums. He said, “How are we going to continue living with these buildings, to rehabilitate them, for people to make use of them? Here, for every design – and as part of the competition – we had to show how we planned to rehabilitate the buildings after the event. And we had to look at the bigger picture, because the stadiums are going to form part of our society – they’ll become parks, medical facilities and education institutes.”
Planning consultant and sustainability and regeneration expert Bill Reed said there is a need to let the world heal for at least 18 months and for human beings to partner with nature. Speaking about the Middle East specifically, he said, “It doesn’t matter where you are; it matters how you address where you are. What is the nature of a healthy ecosystem around the Gulf? That is the first question that needs to be asked, and then how do we serve that in our projects.”
Dr Anne Poelina, chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council in Western Australia, said, “We have to brave and extend ourselves because where the world is taking us we need to go with good faith. That we are there for the ‘we’ and not for the ‘me’ and the challenge to know that the creator has given us something very precious to be able to think and conceptualise. Go out there be a brave human being. Let’s do our bit and look at where we will be in the future particularly in the next two to three years.”
The discussion was moderated by Jason Twill, director of the World Cup Master Program at Qatar Foundation.