Tod’s role in enhancing urban quality of life and preserving built heritage: The case of Msheireb Downtown Doha
The term ‘Transit-Oriented Development’ or TOD was firstly used by the American planner Peter Calthorpe in 1993. To address the urban sprawling caused by extensive car use and the disappearance of historical community centers, the strategy for TOD is based on planning land use on a regional scale integrated to public transport systems. TOD became part of the movement known broadly as ‘new urbanism’. Lately, Doha faced rapid growth in social, economic, and built environmental aspects that shaped its current and future urban planning. TOD is seen as an efficient and energetic approach to resolve the existing challenges in urban planning of the city through a sustainable strategy in urban developmental planning. Msheireb Downtown, the heritage district of Doha, is the selected case study under investigation. The research study focuses on modeling a new pattern of sustainable traditional urban developmental planning, which supports integration of transportation planning, land use and cultural/identity heritage. The study intends to explore “new urbanism” theories, which are the basis for TOD, while investigating the role of TOD in enhancing urban quality of life by following a number of principles that address physical, social, economic, environmental and mobility concerns. The research study adopts a qualitative approach. Oral and visual data are collected via (i) interviews with urban planners and consultants from Msheireb Properties, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and Qatar Rail; (ii) walk- through studies; (iii) site visits and observations about the spatial form of buildings, streets and open spaces; (iv) on-site interviews; and (v) a survey conducted during the walk-through studies. The study aims at revealing the extent to which the TOD principles can be implemented in the selected study area, by exploring (i) its conditions [site analysis] and (ii) how the urban quality of life in the vernacular urbanism is achieved in modern times.