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Reviving Third Places, ‘Living Rooms’ of Society

3 March 2024

1:30 pm

Two-day, in-person workshop co-led by Isabella Rossen and Robert Čanak. Following the first-day field trip, participants will share their observations and research with a Placemaking Plenary Session on Monday, March 4.

  • March 3, 2024, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM AND March 4, 09:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Location: Room 255, VCUarts Qatar & Souq Al Haraj 
  • Upon Registration Only

This is an off-site workshop. Transportation to the workshop location from VCUarts Qatar and back will be provided and is part of the experience. 

Souq Al Haraj, a market located in the old Doha neighborhood Al Najma, is a vibrant urban space where secondhand goods are repaired and resold, and furniture and building materials are traded.

Over time, the Souq has become a space of both social and economic significance for a large migrant community. They spend a considerable part of their time gravitating to the Souq – be it getting building materials, stopping for a quick tea, or to socialize. Souq Al Haraj is an urban space that is frequented by a migrant workforce daily.

With the redevelopment of old neighborhoods in the city, often neglected, yet important places are at risk of disappearing. Throughout the years, there have been proposals for demolishing Souq Al Haraj, and replacing it with a modern commercial development.

While such an intervention would surely result in benefits for the landowners, it would also destabilize the migrant community, as they would lose an important socio-cultural space.

Souq Al Haraj, to an extent, became the ‘living room’ of one part of Doha’s demographic makeup.

The workshop will focus on analyzing the current Souq as an open semi-public marketplace, using the placemaking lens. We will observe the spatial and social dynamics in the Souq and use the gathered information to propose design interventions that can improve the space for its current users, as well as make it more attractive for new visitors.

The primary goal of this Placemaking exercise is to – through small design interventions – contribute to stabilizing and preserving one such part of Doha, focusing on the critical role that “third places” can play in strengthening the sense of communities.

The workshop is related to the Reviving Third Places – Plenary Session workshop, March 4, 2024, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM.


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