Everyday Doha ... and things #2

Typical old commercial  buildings that will probably be demolished in the near future.

Typical old commercial  buildings that will probably be demolished in the near future.

While not having any travel opportunities in the near future, it was time again to hit the streets and alleys of my adopted hometown.

One of my favorite stomping grounds is the old Msheireb part of downtown Doha. Much of Msheireb still contain narrow alleyways with old, dilapidated low-rise buildings, some of which are still occupied by lower income labor classes. Msheireb still has a real, old-worldly soul and provides me with a convenient escape from the sanitized, developed and harshness of new and re-developed modern Doha. Unfortunately, re-development of old Msheireb has already started in large parts, while it's just a matter of time before the remainder will also be flattened in the name of progress. I suspect that, within a year from now, old Msheireb will not exist anymore. 

Out of the darkness and into the light ... Construction hording along the perimeter of old Msheireb.

Out of the darkness and into the light ... Construction hording along the perimeter of old Msheireb.

As already mentioned, I find modern Doha to be an extremely harsh city. For unknown reasons, there appears to be a resistance from the Municipality and property developers alike to avoid softening the urban cityscape by significant green landscaping, and to be fair, with some noticeable exceptions. The default approach mostly seems to be to pave over every possible piece of sand, mostly with standard interlocking concrete pavers. This adds nothing towards improving the already harsh and hot summer climate. The relentless glare from the predominantly light sand-colored buildings and hard surfaces is also never softened or filtered. 

Spontaneous street trading in old Msheireb. 

Spontaneous street trading in old Msheireb. 

Despite the fact that Qatar is a desert country, where we experience only roughly three to five days of rain a year, neighboring UAE has already proven that these climatic conditions are not a major obstacle towards greening of regional cities. With suitable soil enhancement and ever-present irrigation sources using treated sewage effluent, some regional cities are creating impressive, flourishing green landscaping. Despite tangible benefits to the micro-climate, it adds significantly to the psychological well-being of the inhabitants too. It feels like the proverbial "breath of fresh air" every time I get to visit any of these greener cities.

Old Msheireb

Old Msheireb

Modern Urban Qatar ... one last shot on my way back to my car.

Modern Urban Qatar ... one last shot on my way back to my car.

But, I digress. What should've been a record of my photo outing experience, has unfortunately degenerated into a rant of some sort, but that's ultimately all part of my own subjective experience of everyday Doha ...

To be continued. Best regards - Michiel

Get the message?

Get the message?