Lusail: sleek new city offers glimpse of Qatar's post-oil future

During the 2022 World Cup, all eyes will be on the coastal metropolis located 16km from Doha

Text and photography by Stéphanie Buret

From the sands of the Qatari coast rise the towering glass, steel and concrete forms of Lusail, a city being built almost entirely from scratch. Pharaonic in its scale and ambition, the under-construction metropolis is the vision of the country’s former emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, born in part from the desire to diversify the Qatari economy and distance it from oil dependence.

Financed by the government via the Qatari Diar real estate company, the city was initially conceived in 2005 but development truly took off when Qatar was announced as the host of the 2022 World Cup.

A road and new tramway line. The city’s train network will comprise four main lines extending over 24 miles, with 36 passenger stations

Scores of new cities are rising across the world from previously untouched desert and jungle, or on land “reclaimed” from the sea. While the history of cities built from scratch is long, the scale of the current epidemic is beyond anything seen before. 

Sophie Nowland and Chaiun Chung

A view of Lusail City from a Venetian development on an artificial island called the Pearl

The Lusail Iconic stadium, which will host the opening and closing matches of the 2022 World Cup. Its completion is expected in 2020

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