Cities around the word are vying for the tag “smart city,” following in the footsteps of cities like Barcelona and Amsterdam. Dubai and Doha are among the cities that are said to be investing heavily in infrastructure that they hope will serve residents more comprehensively and efficiently, serving as centers for smart urbanization in Qatar. Infrastructure development is the first component of a smart city, with technology integrated into the way services are provided to allow for greater ease of use and efficiency.
Arab Future Cities Summit to be Held in April
The Arab Future Cities Summit will be held in Doha this April, and the organizers say that the Qatari construction industry is the second-greatest contributor to the country’s economy after oil. The government budget for 2017 has allocated $25.6 billion to projects that will include the upgrading of health services, public transport, and infrastructure. Roughly $35bn-45bn are intended for the country’s most expensive infrastructure project – the Qatar Rail Development Programme.
Summit delegates will discuss strategies for sustainable city infrastructure development and smart urbanization in Qatar, looking at how it can provide long-term benefits for local populations. Summit organizers say that improved connectivity will go hand-in-hand with infrastructure development, improving quality of life and stimulating the economy.
FIFA World Cup Stimulates Smart Urbanization in Qatar
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is providing a stimulus for infrastructure development as the city prepares for an influx of international soccer fans. With over a million visitors expected, Qatar is working on improving the infrastructure that will support them, with a separate budget allowing for large investments in transport infrastructure, stadiums, and hospitals.
The country has been working towards increasing its tourism revenue, and the World Cup preparations will equip it to handle larger numbers of visitors than ever before.
Smart Mall in Doha Shows How Future Cities Can Realize Efficiencies
Doha’s Festival City mall is being held up as an example of how future smart cities in Qatar could work. Apart from offering free WiFi to visitors, it makes use of digital info stations that allow patrons to navigate the complex effectively.
The smart car park is the most interesting connected feature. Traffic signals direct visitors to available parking and channel traffic away from congested areas. The system covers 8,000 parking spaces.
When combined with IoT (internet of things) digital management systems, infrastructure can be used more efficiently, reducing wasted time and resources. Barcelona already uses a similar system to that of Festival City in Doha to help drivers find parking, thereby reducing emissions and traffic congestion.
Working Towards Sustainable Cities
The Arab Future Cities Summit strives to promote discussion and information sharing and will take a closer look at connected transport, cyber security, smart stadiums and airports, and smart economic zones to name but a few. Qatar has committed itself to an ambitious infrastructure improvement program and hopes that in doing so, it will boost the “smart” profile of its cities.