Various urban qualities are required for sustainable urban development, which is a particular challenge in the case of emerging cities such as Qatar's capital, Doha. Therefore, this paper seeks to introduce a framework concerning how to investigate urban qualities and their production in space in order to clarify the challenges and limitations of planning for sustainability. The paper is based on analyses and evaluations of GIS data as well as a series of interviews with 10 planning experts at the Ministry of Municipalities and Urban Planning and a series of questionnaires received from 350 inhabitants. After introducing the basic framework as a model, the three dimensions of sustainability - ecological efficiency, economic growth and social equity - are analysed in relation to the urban qualities needed for producing them. In conclusion the general challenges in establishing sustainable urban development mechanisms in Doha are discussed.