Sustainable and Livable Open Spaces in the City of Doha: an Investigation into the Legacies of Mega Sport Events
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With the aim of diversifying its economy and developing itself as a tourist destination, in recent years, Qatar has hosted many international sports events and will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Doha, its capital city, is literally under construction, and is facing important changes in terms of transportation, infrastructure, and sports facilities. However, past experiences show that outcomes from staging major events are mostly harmful, and their legacies planned to last only for a short time. This trend is even stronger when considering how sports facilities and their surroundings are utilized after the event is over. Usually, sports venues are under-used and very costly to maintain, while their neighborhoods are underutilized and abandoned pieces of cities. What will be left after the 2022 World Cup? How to leverage this event as a momentum of experimentation and sustainable growth of its capital city, Doha? Within this context, the aim of this research is to identify strategies to plan and maximize the post-event use of event sites and venues, and make their neighborhoods more livable and sustainable. The research has a specific focus on the city of Doha, which hosted the 2006 Asian Games and will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It starts with a critical review of relevant precedents from the Western and Eastern world, and then continues with an in-depth analysis of three selected case studies: the cities of London, Sochi, and Rio de Janeiro that recently hosted major sports events. Finally, the study focuses on the context of Doha, investigating firstly its public spaces, and transport and planning systems, and then analyzing the government’s legacy plans for the 2022 World Cup. Results include firstly a framework for the comprehensive appraisal of site events and venues, by evaluating their sustainable legacies and assessing their impacts; secondly, the research define a set of recommendations for organizing committees and host cities to help them transform sports venues and events sites into lasting, sustainable and livable open public spaces, and, more generally, to define strategies for achieving successful legacies from the host of mega sports events.