A Smart City That Shows The Efforts Of Building In A Desert – From Scratch
Qatar, the Arab country comprising of arid desert and the long Persian Gulf
is building a smart city in 28 sq.km of the desert area and sea. The new
city is located in the capital city Doha’s northern development corridor.
The smart city on the verge of completion is an important part of Qatar’s
2030 Vision. With sustainability at its core, the country aims at setting an
example of how the smart cities of the Middle East region will be built in
the future. The new city known as ‘Lusail’ will cover almost 20% of Qatar’s
increasing population. Approximately, 250,000 new residents will start
living in Lusail from 2020.
The first stage of the smart city excavation began in 2009 and the final
stage will be accomplished by the end of 2019. At present, 45,000 workers
are on duty day and night to reach the deadline. Thanks to a joint operation
that is going on with proper planning, trustworthy equipment and good
Nevertheless, the toughest challenge lies with the desert’s harsh
temperatures and character. Excavation in porous sandstone takes in a lot of
effort as walls cave in easily and excavators need to be equipped with
breakers to stop them from sliding. Temperature rises above 50°C and hence
excavators additionally need to be equipped with AC units that protect them
from heatstroke while operating heavy machinery. Hence, worker safety is
taken care of with compliance.
Lusail is a smart city that possesses one of the largest central cooling
systems in the world with four district stations and 175 km of piping. Upon
completion, cool air and water will be supplied to the buildings in the city
saving an estimated 200,000 tonnes of CO2 while limiting the use of AC
Another sustainable yet unique feature of the city comprises a 24 km waste
pipe network laid beneath the city. This pipe will be connected to the
buildings and dispose of human waste through a sophisticated and highly
efficient network of vacuum tubes. The waste will directly reach the
recycling treatment plants without the need for garbage trucks – saving 70
tonnes of waste per day that would otherwise have been transported.
As the smart city is situated in the desert, nothing will be disposed of
including sewage. The treatment plants of Lusail will reuse the waste to
power the district cooling system – returning to building as water or cool
The recycled water will also be used to irrigate the surrounding green
landscape and open spaces. Additionally, it will have a light railway
system, underground pedestrian tunnels and a water-taxi system which will
reduce the use of cars for commutation.
As per Qatar’s 2030 Vision, Lusail will be a smart city that will have all
the elements of a smart city combined with traditional values and culture.
With the first smart city being built from scratch in Qatar, it is sure to be
a source of inspiration showing what exactly does it take to build a smart
city in a desert!