Towards the transition to zero-carbon community: scientific framework for integrated social, economic, and technology

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Submission Summary
Qatar like most of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is experiencing a technology-driven transformation towards a low-carbon and energy-efficient built environment. This was reflected in different government initiatives and efforts to promote and adopt the use of renewables energies to encourage the development of low carbon smart cities by intensively investing in ICT-based solutions (e.g., Lusail city in Qatar). This push is a part of a highly publicized (and controversial in academic literature) efforts to reshape urban development through megaprojects, centralized master planning and westernized approaches conveying modernism and global affluence. However, this is often contrasted with the conservative societies of the region, the large consumption footprints, and the preferences of local people towards large and isolated residential houses (rather than high-rise buildings or congested high-tech cities). In this context, the idea of (smart and) connected communities that develop synergies through the use of technology and infrastructure is technically feasible and relevant for Qatar and the region. However, this idea poses several questions with regard to the premise of ‘community’ and the associated social and economic aspects such as coherence, privacy, acceptability, affordability and types of incentives that help to switch toward 100% renewable energy production and use. This study aims at developing a scientific framework that integrates the social, economic, and technological factors that are significant in the process of the transition to zero-carbon energy at the community level. The proposed framework includes community digital twin and analytic and economic engines to evaluate options and alternatives. The study will focus on the social attitudes that help the implementation of new technologies to achieve zero-carbon communities. Furthermore, this research will examine the personal, psychological, economical, and contextual factors that combine together to shape public acceptance.
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3: Smartness and development. Al-Souq: innovating for performance and management
Assistant professor of geography and urban planning
Qatar University

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