Lusail Master Plan: Planning a research-focused city of the future
Nearly 30 kilometres north of Doha lies the city of Lusail, Qatar. Surrounded by desert and bordered by water, this newly developed coastal city has 19 different districts (or zones of expertise) including a commercial district, an entertainment district, a petroleum district, and many others.
In 2014, we were engaged to create the master plan for the Medical and Educational district of the city. There are over 400 acres in this district, which incorporates medical, educational, recreational, residential, and public spaces – all elements in alignment with the Qatar National Vision for 2030. The city plays a part in Qatar’s plan to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Planning a portion of a new city comes with its unique challenges. The vision for Lusail is to be a modern, research-focused city of the future, while also maintaining and celebrating the rich history and authentic values of Qatari culture.
Our client asked us to create a contemporary master plan – assessing, determining, and connecting critical community-dense infrastructure for 50,000 people – without any structures over 18 stories high. Our canvas was a piece of land that included only a future subway line dividing the site.
Our design strategy was driven by three issues: noise mitigation, safety issues surrounding the major highway, and a gradual transition from the district into the lower-density, southern zone of development.
Our team began by creating large bubble diagrams that strategically placed several combinations of elements; with each permutation evaluating how the pieces worked together. Then, we presented our broad ideas to the client for their feedback, making adjustments to the plan and gradually increasing the details as we progressed. We considered all major utilities, transportation networks, and pedestrian networks to demonstrate within the master plan.
In an effort to mitigate sound, we placed the hospital in the far northwest corner of the land, away from most of the residential buildings. To the west of the hospital, along the edge of the highway, are transitional and industrial uses, like mechanical plants and parking.
The plan contains pleasant circular roads, and an underground freeway creates a safe space for large pedestrian walkways, active transportation routes, and the LRT. The plan includes attractive streets with green space, trees, winding pathways, and many restaurants and shops.
East of the hospital is a large, varied residential precinct with transitional commercial areas in between. Schools are placed intermittently throughout the neighbourhood so students from kindergarten to high school can choose to walk to their designated campus. The plan includes practice pitches and a large stadium to accommodate FIFA players. Seven mosques are dispersed throughout the community and each can be seen from the large walkable streets.
The city of Lusail's Medical and Education district is currently in development, and will eventually become a vibrant home and community for tens of thousands of medical professionals, educators, families and other workers in Qatar.
This master plan project was a jumping-off point for SEEF Lusail , another Kasian-led residential development project in Qatar.
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