Pleasant weather made parks, the Corniche and other outdoor spaces amongst the most popular destinations for Qatar’s residents during Eid al-Adha holidays this year.
But the issue of access for all remains a point of contention here, where the gender ratio is three men to every woman, and more than a third of the population is made up of low-income workers.
Today’s Peninsula, for example, quotes some bachelors as saying they’d prefer that public spaces be partitioned to separate them from families, simply to avoid the disapproval they feel is being passed on them:
“It’s very common for families here to be snobbish as soon as they see bachelors. Once we were asked to move from one place to another by a family,” said Mohamed Reeza, an expatriate who works as a quantity surveyor.
“It’s not a problem only for low income workers, but it’s a problem for all expatriate workers who live here single. We have only few places to go to in Doha…We respect the culture and sentiments of people. But we also need entertainment and fun,” he added.
And during Eid al-Fitr in August, media reports of families complaining about the “alarming” presence of single men in green spaces also struck a chord.
Qatar has responded to the criticism by trying to move the country’s low-income population into the Industrial Area.
But a year-old bachelor ban that prevents single men from living in residential areas continues to flounder because of a lack of alternative housing for them outside of the city.
As the population continues to grow and thousands of new expats arrive each month to work on Qatar’s countless construction projects, the question remains – can we figure out a way to share public spaces to the satisfaction of all?