M-NEX. Qatar and The Moveable Nexus: Design-led urban food, water and energy management innovation in new boundary conditions of change

The M-NEX Qatar Research Team recently organized a workshop and conference at Qatar University (QU) with international researchers which was curated by Dr Anna Grichting, recipient of the research grant and Lead Research Consultant at Qatar University and Arch. Maryam Alfaraidy, Lead Research Assistant and coordinator of the event.

The M-NEX Research Project is funded by the Belmont Forum and Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). M-NEX � the Moveable NEXUS – looks at design-led urban food, water and energy management innovation in new boundary conditions of change. It is an international research consortium, led by Professor Wanglin Yan at KEIO University Japan and here in Qatar by Professor Kas Oosterhuis with Dr Anna Grichting as the lead research consultant.

The international team includes the research partners Professor Rob Roggema, University of Technology Sydney; Dr Bijon Kumer Mitra, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan; Dr Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Netherlands; Kevin Logan, Maccreanor Lavington, United Kingdom; Professor Greg Keeffe, Queens University Belfast, School of Natural and Built Environment, United Kingdom; and Geoffrey Thun, University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, United States.

The international researchers spent one week in Qatar, and participated in the conference, workshops and several research meetings with the Qatar Team, as well as visiting two local farms, Torba Farms and Global Farms, who are partners in the research project. Other research partners include AEB Arab Engineering Bureau, Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’, Kahramaa and local NGOs.

The opening ceremony was attended by QU President Dr Hassan Al-Derham, College of Engineering Dean Abdelmagid Hamouda, Dr Saif Al-Hajri, President and Founder of Friends of the Environment Qatar, Arch. Ibrahim Jaidah, AEB Arab Engineering Bureau, and Eng. Jamal Al-Kaabi, on behalf of the President of Ashghal, Dr Eng. Saad Al-Mohannadi as well as Ali Al Kaabi, Founder and owner of Global Farms.

The public conference included international researchers and local speakers and stakeholders from ministries, academia, NGOs and industry. The first panel presented the M-NEX Research project with presentations from each international researcher on the Urban Living Labs that are being established in each host city and University, concluding with the Qatar University Living Lab for the Food Water Energy Nexus.

Dr Anna Grichting, Lead Research Consultant for M-NEX Qatar, QU said: Future climate change and the recent embargo by neighboring states including Saudi Arabia, a major food supplier of Qatar, has heightened the necessity for more efficient and resilient food water and energy systems and infrastructures. These must be coupled with robust social policies and practices that empower and develop knowledge and capacity and include all the communities in Qatar. The Qatar University Living Lab has the potential to position Qatar at the leading edge of sustainable campus planning which includes all its communities, including the staff, workers, gardeners, cleaners alongside faculty, researchers and students.

Maryam Alfaraidy, Masters student, Lead Research assistant for M-NEX Qatar said With the rate of Qatar’s development and aspirations today, environmental obstacles are around the corner of every great nation. We need to see opportunities in every difficulty. As a student and researcher at Qatar University, I see this project as a great learning curve for both myself and the future planners this university harbours. From a personal research view point (FEW nexus treatment systems by urban cultivated algae) or the larger integrated approach on social, economic and environmental levels, this project and conference offers a fertile ground for sustainable development interchange. It extends the integration and involvement based planning and practice into various planning sectors.

Source: Qatar University