This study examines the concept of sustainability and livability at the neighborhood level in a low-density city such as Doha. In its current form, Metropolitan Doha, Qatar’s capital and where 80% of the population resides, is neither sustainable nor ranked highly in many city livability indices of international cities, although Qatar aims to become a truly sustainable state as envisioned in its Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 and endorsed in its National Development Strategies 2012 and 2018. Doha remains a fractured city; its rapid growth has led to unrestrained, extensive urban sprawl with high dependency on private transportation mainly by large SUVs, continually instigated by the absence of public transportation. Doha is also a relatively low-density city where the main driver of its urban sprawl is the inhabitants’ deep-set desire for privacy, and hence, home ownership of single-family detached villas, which have become the predominant residential building-block of neighborhoods with little to no provisions of in-neighborhood community services and amenities such as basic shopping, health, education, and recreation. Consequently, this urban form has resulted in long and frequent commutes for individuals and families, increasing the number of vehicles in traffic almost every hour of every day, traffic congestion, high transportation-related CO2
emissions, additional expenses, and loss of quality family time, among several other environmental, social, and economic sustainability impacts. The findings of this study, which are based on a behavioral survey, illustrate the residents’ views on neighborhood improvement and changes in the transportation modes, as well as their willingness to change their habits for the benefit of common and future generations.
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