Souq Wakif Blue Road – Doha, Qatar - Atlas Obscura

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Souq Wakif Blue Road

This vibrant side road in Doha was painted light blue to reduce heat.  


There’s a blue road running by Souq Waqif known as Abdullah Bin Jassim Street. The unconventional idea to paint the road blue was approved by Ashghal, the Public Works Authority, as a pilot project designed to reduce heat radiating from the asphalt. The exact composition of the paint is not a matter of public knowledge. All that is known is that the paint consists of four coats, resulting in a thick layer of heat-reflecting blue paint, with hollow ceramic microspheres specifically created to combat extremely high temperatures.  Temperatures gauged at ground level have measured around 15 to 20 degrees Celsius lower than the temperature recorded at ground level or along nearby regular, dark asphalt roads. The difference is due to the reduced amount of heat the light-colored surface absorbs and releases during the hottest parts of the day.  The cooling effect extends to areas surrounding the painted street. According to official reports, the type of paint used for the project was not affected by the protracted wear and tear. An analysis is still needed to ascertain whether the benefits brought about by the road offset its cost.  This project has notable predecessors, such as one in  Los Angeles which adopted similar measures in 2017 when a few of the city’s streets were painted grey-white to combat the heat. 

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March 24, 2021

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