ASTAD Gives Insight into the Future of Smart Cities
Doha, Qatar, April 2016: During the fifth Arab Future Cities Summit 2016, held recently under the patronage of Ministry of Transport & Communications and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, ASTAD was invited to contribute to new ideas discussed about the evolving new Arab Smart Cities in the Arab world and especially in the Gulf. This summit was Qatar’s largest Smart City event and was attended by over 350 delegates representing city leaders, government officials, academics, urban service providers and city development experts who shared their experiences, as well as best practices for implementing the smart cities of tomorrow in Doha. The event that took place on the 11th and 12th of April at the Ritz-Carlton, Doha; reflected on many new arising developments in Qatar, and gave an opportunity for professionals from various fields in construction to discuss path-breaking ideas and share experience on how to take the most out of sustainable infrastructure.
Sheikh Soud Al Thani, Head of Sustainability at ASTAD, was the key panel speaker in the Summit and was invited to discuss on “Challenges and Innovation for Smart Cities”. It discussed the topics of innovation, selecting the right solutions, and overcoming challenges that arise while developing smart cities in context of Doha.
Engineer Ali Al Khalifa, Chief Executive officer of ASTAD, commended the summit for discussing this contemporary topic, and for rallying experts and professionals from different fields to discuss related topics saying: “The topic of this summit is at the top of discussion on mega projects at the moment. Smart cities are the future and plan to increase efficiency and solve growing issues that surround heavily developed cities like energy wastage.” He added, “These are not issues that Arab cities are suffering from alone, but it is in fact a global challenge that needs to be tackled. The greatest challenge to be faced in the transition to smart cities will be mapping out a clear vision. Most cities that claim they are smart cities are only adapting certain aspects of a smart city. To fully accomplish a smart city, there must be a clear vision to guide the process of putting all administering and governing bodies together in a fully functional manner. At ASTAD, we are certain the wise leadership of Qatar, and the Qatar National Vision 2030, will be cornerstones in creating a vision for implementing Smart City designs and technology in Qatar.”
Sheikh Soud Al Thani discussed dimensions such as efficiency as well as livability of smart cities within the Middle East as well as around the world. He stated that “the Smart cities are a major leap and an evolutionary step in urban planning and construction. Cities have been based on the motor vehicle in recent decades, but with smart cities, everything will be centered on smart technology. Smart cities are about information flow and information exchange. Sustainability is another great aspect of smart cities, because smart cities make it easier to manage energy and water distribution while cutting wastage to minimum limits, not to mention trash and recycling management.” He added, “The inhabitants of cities will be able to communicate directly with the administration of cities by using smart devices such as smart phones, and this will make sure that the users of cities are a part of the decision making process in their cities, and that their concerns and problems are addressed and solved.” “This is important for Qatar as Qatar has cities with low population densities, making it a great candidate for easy management and implementation of smart cities.”
The summit focused its discussions with industry experts on topics that included the lack of technology expertise, how to choose sustainable solutions, and fulfilling sustainability requirements. In addition, other major topics included; overcoming bureaucratic processes, dealing with tight budgets, finding the best partners and services, and how to define and measure the success of a project.