|Abstract||In the face of rapid urban development, population growth, and socio-cultural changes, most historic districts in the Gulf are experiencing difficulties in making the necessary adaptation and adjustments to the present needs and changes. On the one hand, most of these districts are suffering from decay and dilapidation. On the other hand, many of them are being erased and replaced by new business districts. Consequently, historic districts are being neglected and are losing their identity. Doha, the capital of the state of Qatar, is experiencing a rapid growth in its economy and population, resulting in the transformation of its built environment. This transformation is characterized by multiple construction projects and the abandonment of old historic neighborhoods.
The aim of this thesis is to examine the impact of this rapid urban development on the socio-cultural spaces in Doha’s historic neighborhoods, focusing on ‘Fareej Old Al-Hitmi’. This is an old neighborhood in Doha that contains the rich history of the Al-Hitmi family, and which has a coherent fabric with authentic old houses of different characters and types. Old Al-Hitmi neighborhood is one of the spaces that is currently being neglected and is losing its cultural identity. The main objective deals with the evaluation of the current socio-cultural spaces within the study area, and examining different methods to enhance the social interaction and connectivity between the neighborhood users.
To achieve the aim of this research study, a mixed methods approach involving a combination of both quantitative and qualitative analyses were adopted and developed. (1) Theoretical study, by reviewing different topics and disciplines (2) Applied and analytical study, through site observation, field notes and photographs (3) Structured questioners and interviews with planners and design professionals from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), Qatar Museum Authority (QMA), Engineering consultant companies and Qatar Rail (QR). As an outcome, this research study attempts to develop an approach to enhance the socio-cultural spaces, and promote social interaction and engagement in urban life through a set of recommendations and design guidelines.