Doha, 17 May 2023 - Urban planner Allison Taylor has overseen a multitude of roles during her nine-year stint supporting Qatar’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup™.
As the Land & Planning Manager for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Allison was involved in pre-tournament planning, construction and event operations.
Originally from the Bay Area of California, 40-year-old Allison spoke to the SC about her Qatar 2022 journey as part of our ‘Amazing: Delivered’ series.
I joined the SC in March 2014 and I’ve had multiple roles. I was originally hired for building permits management for the stadiums, then shifted to design reviews for stadiums and master plan reviews for precincts. More recently, my role focused on the land allocation for the tournament footprint. I assisted the various project teams to identify appropriate sites for their operations and secured temporary tournament allocation with the land-owning entities. This included official and non-official sites like stadiums, training sites, fan areas, transport hubs and broadcasting sites.
It was an exciting, mega project that had global reach and working on it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I had been working in Qatar for a couple of years before taking the role and this offered a chance to really contribute to the development of the country. Who wouldn’t say yes to a project like this?
During the World Cup, I was in the Main Operations Centre, representing the non-official sites team. Effectively, the Main Operations Centre was a collection of representatives from several different projects, including stakeholders like KAHRAMAA and Ashghal, and featured a number of other command centres. We dealt with different issues that would arise during the tournament and worked towards making sure everything went smoothly. For example, in the weeks before the tournament, our project teams needed access to the sites, so their overlay installation teams could do their final set-up. I would mitigate these issues by contacting the relevant parties to ensure access to the sites was granted.
My proudest achievement is that we delivered this amazing project successfully. Having been part of it for nine years, you wonder over time what it’s going to be like and are we actually going to get over the line? To achieve that goal, not only for myself as a professional, but the State of Qatar and all my colleagues, it’s a great achievement.
In terms of the project itself, I feel so proud to have been involved. I met an amazing amount of wonderful people and had so many great experiences. I feel very privileged to have been part of this project since almost the start. To see all these stadiums become reality, seeing everything operational and people having a great time, it feels wonderful.
One of the great memories for me was to have my immediate family, including my father, come over from the United States. For some of them, it was a long journey from California, as they had never been to the Middle East or Qatar before. To see them navigating the stadiums and the metro, they were amazed by how nice and clean the country is and how friendly the people were.
A key lesson on this project was coordination and teamwork – I can’t say that enough. There were situations that we’ve gone through where things were done in silos and not in a coordinated fashion. I always recommend to communicate with everyone as a team. Also, be kind to each other. Even in our most stressful times, keep the kindness and keep the respect.
Really appreciate the scale of the event because you can get caught in the daily grind of the work you have to do, which is very important. I’ve found that when the tournament was actually happening, you need to really have an appreciation of how big it is and how many people it affects. You also need to enjoy the event, as it goes by very quickly.