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Roundabouts in Qatar: an overlooked heritage?
13 January 2014
Students from UCL Qatar’s Museum and Galley Practice MA have been researching the unusual role that Doha’s well-known roundabouts may play in modern Qatari heritage, as part of their module Interdisciplinary Methods for the study of Cultural Heritage.
Residents of Doha will be aware that roundabouts once shaped the cities road networks, with each of them known by a distinct name, including the Arch Roundabout, the Oryx Roundabout, and even the Burger King Roundabout. Many of the roundabouts contained within them distinct and recognisable art installations. But as Doha’s traffic congestion continues unabated, roundabouts are rapidly disappearing to be replaced with traffic lights.
Students Alanoud Alattiya, Fatma Abdel Aziz, Samantha Hearfield, John McNally and Katarina Tarazi used GIS imagery of Doha to produce a short video emphasising the unique and symbolic role that roundabouts could have played in shaping local heritage. Their research, surveying long-term members of the community, will help to decipher the question of whether roundabouts are simply a mundane fact of life on the road, or whether their significance is actually greater than it may at first glance may appear.