Lusail: A Brand-New City Being Created for 2022

I t is not often that a whole new city is created completely from the ground up; but Lusail City is being built from the ground up at a cost of $45 billion to be ready in time for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association — or FIFA — World Cup in Qatar in the year 2022.

According to its official Internet web site, Lusail — derived from the name of the rare flower which grows in Qatar — will include four exclusive islands and 19 multi-purpose residential, mixed use, entertainment and commercial districts across its area of 38 square kilometers. It is a comprehensive arena with leisure spots, residential buildings, commercial towers, avenues, public ports, and 22 hotel properties of various types to help welcome greater than 80,000 visitors.

Hmm…I wonder what the official airline code of Lusail would be if it had its own airport — but visitors most likely will use the existing Hamad International Airport, as Lusail will be located approximately nine miles up the coast north of Doha.

I find this particularly fascinating because when I was an undergraduate student in college in New York, I was in a class where were given a project to re-design anything we wanted.

I chose to re-design New York City.

It was a rather ambitious project; but the key to it for me was to take what I felt could be improved — even if it was not feasibly possible — and some of the many things which I conjured included:

Mass transportation Having an underground street grid which mimicked the one above ground; but which could only be used by electronic vehicles used for mass transportation. This would eliminate the current subway system while providing greater flexibility in routing passengers; as well as ease traffic above ground.

Windowless buildings would be underground Why should such places with no windows as bowling alleys, parking lots and factories take up space above ground? Put them below street level — with the proper ventilation, of course — and have the part of the building above ground with windows for other purposes and uses, such as shops and retail stores.

Parkland and skylights With more space above ground, there could be more green areas such as parks; as well as skylights to give the area below ground more natural daylight while lending to interesting glass structures above ground.

My project received an A as its grade — and I was nowhere nearly finished with it, as it practically assumed that New York would need to be re-built from scratch, which would be impossible…

…but to have the opportunity to build a city from the ground up while addressing the problems which currently plague most cities — traffic congestion, pollution and slums as three of many examples — is quite rare. Brasilia — which was founded in 1960 and replaced Rio de Janeiro as the capital city of Brazil — is the closest example which comes to mind for me as a city built intentionally from the ground up rather than organically. I have never been to Brasilia; so I cannot comment on how well the city was built and planned.

I wonder what steps the people behind the creation of Lusail City have taken to ensure avoiding as much as possible many of the problems seemingly inherent in many cities. From what I can tell, it will include underground pedestrian tunnels, underground parking, a light rail system, bicycle routes and water taxis to transport people; as well as underground electrical substations, a pneumatic waste disposal system, and a sewage treatment plant which will use underground pipes…

…and everything having to do with Lusail will supposedly be controlled by computers in a centralized command center. Could that have a ring of “big brother” attached to that as a negative?

What do you think? Would you travel to visit Lusail City in the future?

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