Ras Bufontas Free Zone (RBF) is a key component in Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA)’s mission to contribute to the human, social, economic and environmental development of Qatar, aligning with the 2030 Qatar National Vision’s long-term sustainable development goals and pillars.
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Global Future Design Awards 2021
Ras Bufontas Free Zone
Urban Design Built
Qatar Free Zones Authority
Qatar Free Zones Authority
Rem Koolhaas, Katrin Betshinger, Shinji Takagi, Samir Bantal
©Qatar Free Zones Authority
RBF is at a critical juncture: planned growth increases the zone population; planned transit investments create greater connectivity opportunities; and its location immediately South of Hamad International Airport (HIA) provides the potential to support synergies between aviation, air cargo, logistics facilities, setting RBF to emerge as a logistics, aerospace services and advanced technology hub.
Encompassing an area of approximately 4km², RBF is located within Doha, Qatar and includes buildings in operation, under construction and vacant land. RBF was initially planned as the first Qatar Economic Zone of three to be delivered by the Qatari Government to diversify Qatar’s predominantly resource based economy. The original RBF master plan was created in 2016, when the zone was envisaged to support light industrial and warehousing activities.
The 2017 Decree Law no.21 changed the status of RBF from an Economic Zone to a Free Zone, to promote foreign investment into Qatar by offering commercial concessions attractive to international investors and encouraging partnerships with domestic service providers and local investors to improve business and trading activities.
Subsequent to RBF becoming a Free Zone, the continuous changes to land use scenarios, master planning considerations, and customs needs required an updated master planning framework to guide RBF’s long term economic growth, to allow for strategic development, whilst prioritizing integration and leveraging existing assets and infrastructure.
In 2021, QFZA appointed a master planning consultant to update the RBF master plan. The initial stage involved benchmarking similar developments in the region and worldwide, analyzing the site constraints and opportunities. The findings informed the development of a general planning framework and strategy for urban design principles for identity enhancement and design coherence.
The new master plan framework provides solutions that will solidify the relationship between RBF and its surroundings, and outlines key structural elements such as:
- Transportation network integrating macro and micro urban mobility solutions,
- Enhanced landscape framework augmenting the public realm qualities and consolidating community facilities,
- Clearly defined consolidated land use clusters,
- Phasing strategy establishing priorities for key areas of future economic growth by maintaining continuity in responsible development,
Sustainable urban design solutions that mitigate climate change impacts through the optimization of urban layouts.
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