Monday, October 04, 2010

October 2010 Travel Photo: New Doha Construction

This month's travel photo is in the downtown section Doha, Qatar.  "New Doha" is very new, so new it is not even finished yet.  Construction of tall towers is occurring everywhere in the compact city's core. 

One hundred years ago Doha was a small fishing village.  Today, fast paced construction has made it a major world city.  The hotel where I stayed at had businessmen and engineers from Europe, the Middle East, east Asia, and Australia (strangely after a week of being the easy-going, talkative me I was the only American in New Doha.  The only Americans I saw where soldiers on leave from the military base in Qatar's desert).

Doha has been viewed by some as the "wannabe Dubai."  While this has been intended as an insult, playing catch-up to Dubai has played in Doha's favor.  Qatar has invested wiser than Dubai with construction focusing on profitable commercial property rather than constellations of islands and skyscrapers which practically bankrupt the country.  While there are some large construction like the Museum of Islamic Art and The Pearl island system, these are relatively small compared to Dubai's excesses.

The new buildings make Doha's population even more unbalanced.  Twenty percent (at most) of all Qatar is Qatari Arab.  Muslims and Christian guest workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and the Philippines are literally building the country and make the vast majority of the population.

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Even this June 2009 imagery is out of date as there are new buildings going up in New Doha which are not shown above.

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