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Qatar University – An Edible Permaculture Campus at Qatar University. A Future Vision and Master Plan with Graduate and Undergraduate students

By on August 30, 2016
Qatar University

Contact name and title
Dr. Anna Grichting, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning


Title of activity
An Edible Permaculture Campus at Qatar University. A Future Vision and Master Plan with Graduate and Undergraduate students

Description of activity
For the past five years, I have been involving the architecture and urban planning students in the redesign of the Qatar University Campus to transform it into an Edible Campus. At the large scale, this includes a Master Plan for the University Campus which uses vacant spaces for growing food and fostering biodiversity as well as transforming existing open spaces into productive landscapes. At the smaller scale, it involves an Edible Permaculture Garden that has been initiated at the Department of Architecture and designed by Undergraduate students in the same building, with a grant from Qatar Foundation. It is now evolving into a a permaculture garden, with the participation of Luzita Ball and Paige Tantillo, two certified Permaculturists who are collaborating with the Department. Permaculture can help to create landscapes that minimise resource use (water, energy, soil); increases recycling (organic waste, water); creates healthier produce (without pesticides and fertilizers) while at the same time promoting biodiversity of fauna and flora. Edible landscape can contribute to the food security of the campus and of Qatar, and also reduce the Carbon Footprint be reducing Food Miles, or distances that food travels to our plate. The project is envisioned as an interdisciplinary project that will involve different departments and research centers at Qatar University, and will contribute to the vision of creating an Edible Campus at Qatar University based on Urban Permaculture Principles. It brings together academics and practitioners, and also involves the Campus facilities engineers and gardners, the expatriate workers and students at Qatar University, looking at ecological, social and economic values of integrated and holistic landscape practices and systems.
Sustainable Development Goal 11 targets relating to activity
11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
11.a Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, per-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
11.b By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels

Main themes of this activity
Social Inclusion
Planning and Design
Information and Monitoring
Capacity Development
Climate Change
Changes that took place as a result of this activity
Students have become aware of the question of food security and biodiversity and are more aware of the resources that are needed to produce food. They can see the importance of design to better use ressources. The Master Plan vision and the constructed garden are both tools to communicate the idea and the importance of the Edible Campus. The Edible Boulevard, as an interdisciplinary project, has included staff, faculty, students, schools and international experts, as well as research centers at the University. It has encouraged the students to also consider the expatriate workers such as the nepalese cleaners who often come from farming communities and have a lot of know how and techniques for growing food, often closely related to concepts of permaculture – which are ressource efficient.
How the impact of the activity was measured
As of yet, we have not measured the impact of this activity, as it is an onging activity. We can perceive the interest that the project generates amongst the students, as well as the attention it receives in the media, in the professional and academic realm (presentations in international and regional conferences).
Links related to the activity
  • http://blogs.qu.edu.qa/foodurbanismdoha/
  • http://www.sustainableurbanismqatar.com/?page_id=91
  • http://blogs.qu.edu.qa/qatarurbanism/edible-campus/
Additional notes