Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), through the College of Science and Engineering's Sustainable Built Environment( SBE) Research Group, is studying mega events in the region - including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - to investigate the resilience of urban infrastructure.
The studies aim at decreasing the vulnerability of GCC’s built environment and protecting its social, economic, and environmental aspects.
They were funded by Qatar National Research Fund and supported by Qatar Foundation.
Dr Sami G al-Ghamdi, associate professor of Sustainable Built Environment and Climate Change Resilient Infrastructure, who leads the SBE Group, is working with post-doctoral fellow, Dr.
Furqan Tahir, and PhD candidates, Mohammad Zaher Serdar and Mohammed Mousa al-Humaiqani, on various streams of urban resilience assessment research.
Serdar's research is focused on quantifying resilience, identifying the optimal recovery plan for critical disturbances, as well as the interdependencies of critical infrastructures during mega events.
His study tackles urban infrastructure resilience during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Dubai Expo 2020, and Haj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah.
While mega events present a unique and vital opportunity to boost a host country’s economy as well as its development, they present a formidable challenge to its resilience.
In his study of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Serdar considers the critical role of the transportation network in shaping the experience of visitors and in the event’s success.
Using a multilevel resilience assessment framework he developed, Serdar evaluated Qatar’s road network during the mega event under several extreme scenarios.
Although the road network showed reliable performance, both under intentional attacks and random accident scenarios, there were some concerns regarding extreme flooding scenarios, denoted as a critical disturbance.
The metro network, with a supporting role in the mobility of fans, did not suffer any degradation.
However, precautions should be taken in future event planning to avoid threats under climate change scenarios.
In other studies, the researchers focus on the qualities of the built environment and the resilience of systems linked to climate change.
With high urbanisation rates, GCC cities face several emerging challenges: climate change impacts, intentional attacks, random failures, and a conventional approach to planning that limits efficiency.
To illustrate, flash and unusually heavy flooding have caused extensive damage to private and public assets and infrastructures in several GCC countries over the past two decades.
Al-Humaiqani's research includes developing a roadmap that facilitates the adaptation of resilience qualities into different systems of the built environment.
It focuses primarily on incorporating resilience into planning by improving the policy system, strengthening resilience assessment, and improving the adaptive, absorptive, coping, restorative capacities of urban systems.
He aims to incorporate these qualities as an inherent practice and use a design thinking approach in policy-making, academia, and the public and private arenas.
The research includes the development of a systematic framework to capture the interactions and interconnections of the different resilience qualities and indicators.
According to Dr al-Ghamdi: "All human activities release some emissions which stimulate anthropogenic climate change, leading to an increase in the rate and intensity of natural disasters that impact the built environment.
However, resilience aims to reduce the vulnerability and exposure of the built environment, protecting the social, economic, and environmental aspects and pillars of sustainable development."
Upon completing their projects later this year, the researchers’ findings will provide meaningful recommendations and a reference for policymakers, regulating authorities, and infrastructure management entities to develop and plan for a more resilient built environment in the GCC.
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