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Resilience in Urban Sudan (RUS)

Funding agencies: Vetenskapsrådet, SIDA and FORMAS. Duration: 2019-2022

This project is an interdisciplinary spatial and temporal study of social cohesion and resilience to tackle the consequences of climate and environmental change in urban Khartoum. Filling a gap of knowledge in current research, a team of a human geographer, a historian, a young migration expert and Sudanese environmental experts, will study the effects of climate change and societal reactions in a selected urban area in Greater Khartoum. Social cohesion and resilience are main foci for this study. Combining a spatial with a temporal study allows a better understanding of how fragile urban communities collectively remember environmental events and how they react to impacts of climate change with community action.

The project will strengthen applied studies on urban sustainable development according to the Sustainable Development Goal 11, also known as the Urban Sustainable Development Goal (USDG). This project therefore aims to explore urban community resilience and the initiatives of social cohesion, that are participatory and inclusive and help mitigate climate change and adapt to increasingly challenging conditions in urban areas. In order to face environmental threats, at the roots of growing inequalities, there is a scholarly need to better understand the proactive or reactive acts of resilience that urban communities develop themselves. Dealing with the Sustainable Development Goal 10 and 13, this project also highlights the ways communities in a specific urban neighbourhood contribute to enhance a sustainable climate action and strengthen efforts to reduce inequalities.

This interdisciplinary project will involve collaboration between researchers in Sweden and Sudan and combine environmental sciences, humanities and social sciences. The project will involve primary stakeholders from the neighbourhood from the start in order to ensure a societal relevance and greater impact on the ground. Local communities and stakeholders will be key in developing community climate action and the formulation of policy recommendations. 

In order to study the effects of climate change and environmental issues in urban areas, the research team will conduct an interdisciplinary Participatory Action Research (PAR) focused on a neighbourhood in Greater Khartoum. The research team believes that only a participatory approach is effective to strengthen capacity to enhance social, cultural and environmental sustainability in marginalised neighbourhoods, among diverse groups of people and in Sudan. The team will use story mapping software for combining and presenting research data on-line. This innovative study is important as it responds to an urgent need in both academia and the policy world, because little research has been done on urban sustainable development goals in Sudan.


  • The main purpose of this research project is to contribute to scientific knowledge to tackle consequences of climate and environmental changes in urban areas of the Global South.
  • Contribute to urban sustainable development and planning through producing policy recommendations on how to increase and enhance social cohesion in fragmented neighbourhoods affected by increasing and repeated environmental challenges and migration influxes.
  • Explore environmental challenges as well as the societal responses that are developed by the communities in Khartoum. The project aims to (1) investigate the impact of environmental challenges on communities and (2) explore ways in which communities come together to identify shared challenges and devise climate action.

Research Team

Fanny Christou, Former CMES Researcher and Postdoctoral Fellow at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS)

fanny [dot] christou [at] LUCSUS [dot] lu [dot] se

Josepha Wessels (Principal Investigator), Senior Lecturer at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University

josepha [dot] wessels [at] mau [dot] se

Vittorio Felci, Researcher at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University

vittorio [dot] felci [at] mau [dot] se

Muna Ahmed, Director of and Professor at the Institute of Environmental Studies (IES), Khartoum University

Sumaya Zakieldeen, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Environmental Studies (IES), Khartoum University

Hisham Shazali, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Environmental Studies (IES), Khartoum University