Posted inFeaturesSustainable Spaces

A green oasis in the dessert

Exploring smart homes for sale within Msheireb Downtown Doha, the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project in the region

A green oasis in the dessert

Many investors might not think of Qatar as a lighthouse for eco-friendly property developments, but Msheireb Downtown Doha is billed as the world’s first certified sustainable city.

The regeneration project sits at the heart of Doha’s historic centre and employs a fresh approach to urban planning while combining traditional architectural methods and modern technology to preserve Qatar’s environment and cultural identity. It incorporates human-centric design with pedestrian-friendly roads, reduced traffic and cycling lanes, alongside community integration.

Fully furnished residential units sit next to mixed-use and commercial buildings that encompass retail and business services, as well as cultural facilities, including Msheireb Museums, which explores the histories of four heritage houses, engaging visitors with Qatar’s past.

In Mohammed Bin Jassim House, Msheireb’s past and present is explored, alongside the ethos of sustainability on which the area is based. It also houses the Echo Memory Art Project, which uses objects uncovered during excavation work on the site, highlighting the responsibility to preserve local heritage and culture.

Bin Jelmood House, meanwhile, pays tribute to formerly enslaved people, raising awareness of the global effort to abolish human exploitation. Elsewhere, Company House tells the story of Qatar’s oil boom and the workers who built the nation, while Radwani House provides insight into how family life has evolved in the country.

Msheireb Downtown Doha is also home to five-star hotels, such as Mandarin Oriental Doha, Al Wadi Hotel – MGallery by AccorHotels and Park Hyatt Doha, all of which offer luxury accommodation for visitors, as well as upscale restaurants, fitness facilities and spas for travellers and residents alike. There is also a four-storey shopping mall, Msheireb Galleria, with dozens of stores, dining outlets, an anchor hypermarket, a cinema and a children’s edutainment centre, as well as a west wing with residences and offices. Elsewhere, Barahat Msheireb is the region’s largest open-air, covered pedestrian square.

Every structure in this sprawling development has been either Gold or Platinum LEED-certified and they adhere to international-standard green building codes. This includes the fitting of more than 6,400 rooftop solar panels that provide onsite energy generation, as well as 1,400 more that secure hot water and generate power.

Additional instalments recover rainwater and air-conditioning condensation in basement tanks where it is reused for irrigation and other building functions.

The area’s streets also feature shaded courtyards with a natural cooling design that allows people to walk about all year round. Alternatively, residents can choose to use the two-kilometre self-powered tram network, which has air-conditioned carriages that incorporate light-filtering glass panels that inhibit heat absorption. During cooler months, these can be operated as open-air cars instead.

The development is not only green, but also smart, as it adopts the latest technology and applications for a fully digital experience, including fibre optic cables, device connectivity and smart meters, plus systems to monitor, analyse and maintain the city.

This is all the work of Qatar developer Msheireb Properties, a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation for Education, Sciences and Community Development, which is now world-renowned for its work within the burgeoning sustainable property sector.

“Msheireb Downtown Doha is designed to reverse high-rise trends and champion resident well-being through thoughtful design,” says Chief Executive Officer Ali Al Kuwari. “The entire development, and everything we do at Msheireb Properties, is designed to consume fewer resources, generate less waste and lower costs, to achieve a reduced carbon footprint.

“This is what has attracted so many of our commercial, retail and residential tenants to open their offices or relocate to Msheireb Downtown Doha.”

The project has received numerous accolades since it began welcoming residents in 2022, including the Digital Innovation Experience and Cultural Experience awards earlier this year at the first annual Qatar Tourism Awards.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) also awarded it with one of 16 RIBA International Awards for Excellence in 2021, which are open to qualified architects for spaces anywhere in the world, excluding the UK, as long as they exemplify design excellence and architectural ambition that delivers meaningful social impact.

Dr Hafiz Ali Abdulla, Msheireb Properties’ Senior Director of Corporate Communications, says this global recognition is down to the hard work of thousands of team members. “Since its official launch just ahead of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Msheireb Downtown Doha has established itself as one of the country’s main touristic and cultural destinations, attracting over four million visitors during the World Cup period.”

He says the company’s five-year plan includes growing and sustaining its cultural experience by enriching its offerings and services, expanding its educational programmes, and finding new and creative ways to further engage with the local community.

 “We are proud to have revitalised Doha’s historical core, preserved our nation’s cultural heritage and fostered sustainable urban living to contribute to the Qatar National Vision 2030.

“Our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility reflects Qatar’s goal of being a responsible and forward-thinking nation within the tourism industry.”