‘If you build it, they will come?’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearch

Since the early 2000s, the capital cities of the Arab Gulf have experienced extraordinary urban growth. In this chapter, I analyse the discursive logics that underlie local justifica- tions for boosterist megaprojects, which are often built despite a lack of obvious local de- mand. Focusing on the case of Qatar, I argue for the salience of a form of ‘future oriented sense-making’ that portrays major construction projects as leading the country into a new era of economic prosperity, international prestige and social harmony. More specifically, I trace the emergence and consolidation of references to‘the future’as a central sense-making mechanism, and argue that justifying urban development in relation to the state’s overall development plans consolidates the position and underlines the necessity of those who devised these plans. A major political implication of justifying urban development according to its future value is that the local political leadership ties its legacy to both the material development of the city, and uses urban growth to claim the necessity, benevolence and ultimately the inevitability of its rule. Empirically, the chapter is informed by data collected through both desk- and fieldwork, and focuses on the Lusail City project, Qatar’s largest urban development project that has so far received only little attention in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArab Gulf Cities in Transition: Towards New Spatialities
EditorsVeronika Cummings, Aurel von Richthofen, Zahra Babar
PublisherFuture Cities Laboratory Singapore; ETH Zurich
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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