Cool Living Heritage in Qatar: Sustainable alternatives to air-conditioned urban development

Project overview

In response to the rapid uptake of air conditioning in Qatar and across the Gulf, this project seeks to promote more culturally and environmentally sustainable form of urban development through the revival of a ‘cool living heritage’. For most countries around half of all carbon emissions come from building, and in Qatar and throughout the Gulf a significant proportion of that energy consumption is associated with electronic cooling. Addressing such issues, this project’s interdisciplinary methodology will first integrate a diverse array of material culture designs – spanning architecture, furniture, clothing, fanning and gardens – with examples of everyday customs, habits and social practices from Arab culture.

From there the project will aim to critically appraise the possibilities and limitations of inserting this low-carbon ‘cool living heritage’ as an alternative to the energy intensive, climate control paradigm of electronic air-conditioning. Particular focus will be given to such issues in the context of those mega-projects in Qatar, most notably Msheireb Downtown Doha, which identify cultural heritage as a key mechanism for achieving the twin goals of cultural sustainability and a more environmentally responsive form of urban development. The project brings together researchers from Australia, Singapore, and the UK to work in collaboration with UCL Qatar.

Our team

Professor Tim Winter (Deakin University)

Donald McNeill (Western Sydney University)
Jiat-Hwee Chang (National University of Singapore)
Hassan Bashir (Texas A&M Qatar)
Russell Hitchings (University College London)

Project funding

This project is funded by the Qatar National Research Fund.