From the sands of Qatari coast is seen the rise of an iconic towering glass, steel and concrete structure, the forms of 'Lusail', a city built from the scratch. This new coastal city is partly the result of Qatar's desire seeking to diversify the Qatari economy and remove its oil-dependency.
The under-construction metropolis is the vision of Qatar's former Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, and is financed by the government through the Qatari Diar Real Estate Company. Although initially conceived in 2005, the development actually began when Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
This also reflects the government's vision 2030 sustainable development plan, with a range of features from water-sensitive landscaping plans to a district cooling system designed to save 65m tons of Carbondioxide a year.
Despite being an independent urban centre by itself, Lusail is more like an extension of Doha. Doha and Lusail are just 15kms apart and will be linked by subways and train lines. The developers are of the hope that people would be drawn by the city's marina, which is one of the biggest in the Gulf, its shopping malls, golf courses, business districts, artificial islands and amusement park.
Lusail City is one of the several developments designed to anticipate the need to house a bulging population. Between 2004 and 2010, the population in Qatar grew 128% due to the influx of expat workers. This huge expat population growth is largely due to workers from developing countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, working as manual labourers for the country’s building projects, including the Qatar World Cup infrastructure projects.
However, Lusail City environment doesn’t seem to be for the labourers. Rather, it is targeted at high skilled workers entering Qatar from developed nations, in preparation for Qatar's post-oil era.
The Qatari government is confident that Lusail will help position the country as a model for the Middle East in terms of human development, sustainability, economy, tourism and sport. Once the 80,000 seat stadium hosts the opening match and final of the 2022 Football World Cup, it would be known globally.
However, for now, only a small part of the city has been built. A few offices, a coffee shop are now open, and the marina is already drawing some crown in the evenings when the weather is cool. The visitors would surely explore the new city in the coming months when the metro gets operational.
With the city growing by the day, the landscaping is much on the focus, and most of the desert sand is turning green. Far more land is reclaimed from the sea to be built upon. Lusail is no-doubt a city in which one can strongly keep faith upon for Qatar's economically diversified future.