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1.1- RESEARCH PROBLEM: A. Problem Definition: The Red Sea State is a portrait of the juxtaposition of desert and sea mirrored in the urbanism and Bedawiet livelihoods that have been crossing paths for centuries. The latter holds steady a symbiotic relation with the desert, only to detour when Mother Nature is less gracious, they anchor awaiting a shift to resume sail. The city, aware of the circumstances, proceeds to present temporary hosting, but no accommodation for an extended stay. The complexity of the region is as diverse as its culture and natural resources, and so are the existing or reoccurring tribulations that affect the lives of the inhabitants in the Red Sea State. The problem addressed here in general is: How to formulate a sustainable regional development plan for the arid Red Sea State based on the biodiversities of local ecosystem of the arid zone, aiming at socioeconomic equity for the citizens, to be implemented within an integrated cultural context in the region. This problem encompasses three major elements as follows: A.1- The Environmental Element: The ecosystem of the Red Sea State, with its unpredictable nature; has experienced numerous vulnerabilities, some are natural cycles of drought, floods, and insects epidemics which resulted in the erosions of natural resources in different areas in the region, including the scarcity of drinking water. This phenomenon has devastated the livelihood of the pastoralist, and forced an adaptive living on them and their livestock. The devastation was experienced by rural, town and city dwellers as well. The shift from pastoral to city dwelling for the nomads came with a high price of facing unemployment, reduction of livestock and herds. The grazing of herds around their new residence, and the new trades developed by herders who manipulated the available vegetation to make a living, induced the degradation of the land. A.2- The Underdevelopment Element: Underdevelopment and absence of the infrastructure, such as sanitary systems and waste management; and lack of public services such as healthcare services, in most towns and rural areas in the Red Sea State, add to the hardships of the residents socially, economically and health wise. A.3- The Cultural Element: Apparently, the different styles of living between urban dwellers and pastoralist, induced by multitude of cultural variables ingrained in the population taking residence in the Red Sea State; has its influence in forming a wide gap in the perception of life priorities between the social groups in the region. Identifying the priorities of each group is vital to the success of the community and town planning in the region. The Red Sea State is a host to four cultural groups: Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


1- The Bijah tribes who are pastoralist and agro-pastoralist, with each tribe unique in its own right, their families are educated and trained on traditions, they speak tribal languages and live by their common laws and in their adaptive living. 2- The Refugees from Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea who continue to arrive annually, each group comes with unique traditional teachings, some have had formal education and training, some are IDPs, or Asylum seekers, and are under the management of the United Nations offices to some degree. 3- The Urbanites who are also a mixture of tribesmen from other regions of Sudan, many of whom are city dwellers who experience some level of formal education, training and exposure to world cultures, but they live by the traditional common culture of Sudan, and follow the laws instated by the government. 4- The Tourists who are a multitude of nationalities of diverse cultures embracing lifestyles engulfed with the modernism of the Western, European and Asian liberal views and social orders. Cultures that are foreign, unknown, sometimes misconstrued and may even be unacceptable to the indigenous tribesmen, or even to the Urbanites.

B. Areas of Concern to Suakin Sustainable Ecotown Planning: 1- Existing and New Coastal Settlements Rehabilitation and Sustainable Growth: The following is a graphic summary of Suakin Model impacted by the three major elements of the problem, and encompass the four cultural groups who compete on survival and exhausting the physical environment within Suakin catchment area. (Fig 1.11.3)


(3 Problem Elements + 4 Cultural Groups)

(II) (I)



Fig 1.1- Suakin model town impacted by environmental degradation, underdevelopment and cultural disintegration1.


By author.

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010




RESIDENTS + VISITORS (Permanent, Nomad, Displaced) + (Labor, Professionals, Tourist) NEED FOR CULTURAL INTEGRATION



(Native residents) + (Ecosystems) + (Natural Resources) NEED FOR REHABILITATION & SUSTAINABILITY

(Habitat, Social Groups) + (Economic, Transportation)


Fig 1.2- Underdeveloped categories in need for comprehensive, strategic and sustainable redevelopment1.




HISTORIC PLANNING & BUILDING DESIGN (Historic Design & Administrative Concepts + Building Materials & Methods) NEED FOR SUSTAINABLE ADMINISTRATION

Fig 1.3- Coral Island anticipated areas in need for sustainable redevelopment.


Figures 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 by author.

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010



1- Identify the physical environmental, socio-economic and cultural elements which will affect the sustainable re-development of existing towns, and the development of future coastal towns in the arid Red Sea State in Sudan. 2- Justify the need for redeveloping the existing settlements in the arid Red Sea State in Sudan. 4- Identify insufficiencies in existing planning that lead to the deterioration in the existing towns in the arid Red Sea State. 5-Explore feasible coastal town planning approaches that will furnish a comprehensive, sustainable, cultural integrated and eco-friendly living environment that helps form social and economic security, elevate poverty and promote peace in the coastal zone of the arid Red Sea State in Sudan. 6-Identify the vernacular elements that will influence town planning and design of sustainable infill of the open spaces in the area. 7-Propose feasible and applicable environmental town planning guidelines for adoption in future coastal zone developments in the Red Sea State in Sudan.

1.3- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: Sudan is currently a country devastated not only by natural disasters, but also by various cultural, economic and political events, theoretically recognized by the West to be the result of racial inequalities and unjust targeting of all non-Arab descent inhabiting the peripherals to the central region where the central command is located. A fifty four years old country, derived from a diverse ancestry of segregated and unique ethnicities and cultures, and having not experienced unity till the late nineteenth century, the awakening of its heirs in the absence of the benefactor, under the influence of monarchic elitism; had its tragic impact not only on the educated elite who presumed self governance, but on the county overall. The tragedies that impacted Sudan since independence encompassed all its regions, including the Arid Red Sea State urban and rural areas that continued to face recurring disasters related to natural forces, disintegrated cultural diversities, political instability and economic insecurities. This study is strongly related to the aspects of regional and community long term sustainability, necessary to provide socio-economic equity for the inhabitant of the Red Sea State, while preserving the environment and natural resources essential to maintain a

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


balanced ecosystem within the state. The significance of this study is summarized as follows:

A. Cultural Significance: To reflect the intertwined ethnicities of the Sudan, a review is provided on the ancient civilizations and cultures of the first settlers on the Nile Valley and the Eastern Desert. These settlers were the indigenous tribes of Central Africa, the Barber tribes of North Africa, The Coptic Greco, The Hamitic and Semitic tribes of Mesopotamia and Arabia, the people of Bilad al-Habash and the ethnicities who colonized the land and intermingled with the natives. The brief will also reflect on the impact of colonization by Turkiya, Egypt and Britain on the Sudan generally, and on the Eastern Region in particular. This review will also clarify the diversified and interwoven culture of the Eastern Region and the uniqueness of the coastal Red Sea zone. Diversities of the Eastern Region will be a modifying factor in presenting a base for culturally integrated sustainable community planning solution for the Red Sea State.

B. Socio-economic Significance: The United Nations humanitarian programs conducted numerous studies and presented reports on economic and social analysis in the eastern region such as the World Food Program, (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The data obtained from the different United Nations offices, is based on physical studies and professional judgments. Along with the surveys and reports provided by the recent housing and population census conducted by the current government of the Sudan, all provided evidence that supports the claims by the indigenous tribes of the Eastern Desert, Claims of marginalization in rural town, urban areas and underdevelopment in the Eastern Region as a whole. The survey and analysis carried out by this study investigated existing sites in the Red Sea State, and interviewed residents who are either related to the tribes, or work with families in Kasala, Port Sudan and Suakin. The survey performed by this study present a summary of the findings that justifies the need for sustainable redevelopment in the Eastern region and the Red Sea State in particular.

C. Political Significance: The Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA)1 signed in 2006 between the Eastern Front (EF) which is a union of the Bijah Congress and the Rashaida Free Lions Movement on one hand, and the National Government; highlights that marginalization of the Eastern 1

UNST (Kassala, Red Sea) and UN Resident Coordinator Office – Sudan. East Sudan Analysis and Priorities – Friday, 25 May 2007.

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


Region, politically, economically and socially was the main reason for the Eastern conflict, and it consists of the following five chapters: -

Governance and Power Economic, Social and Cultural Equities Comprehensive Ceasefire and Final Security Arrangements Consultative Conference on ESPA General Provisions

The establishment of Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF) is a high priority to the Eastern Sudan People’s Army (ESPA)1 and the Bijah Congress, and will command the planning, monitoring and follow up of the reconstruction efforts. Furthermore, constitutional amendments by the Eastern States providing for the implementation of the ESPA were approved by the National Government. The situation analysis provided by the United Nations Sudan Treaty (UNST), suggests that the Government capacity in planning and service delivery is one of the main constraints in the recovery efforts. Hence the results of this study are likely to be of value to further studies and planning efforts for the Eastern Region generally, and for the Red Sea State in particular.

D. Environmental Significance: Furthermore, ESPA specifically outlined the provision on the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) for Sudan: “The people of Sudan, including the people of Eastern Sudan, shall have the right to clean and diverse environment. The state shall not pursue any policy or take any action, which may adversely affect the existence of any species or animal or vegetative life, their natural or adopted habitat. Best known practices in efficient utilization of natural resources and environmental management shall be adopted.”2 The Cousteau ICZM project in Sudan, promotes alleviation of poverty and conflict resolution related to the disputes on scarce natural resources and marine environment in Sudan. Cousteau Society in partnership with the Regional Organization for the Protection of Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Coastal Oceans Research and Development in Indian Ocean (CORDIO) for East Africa, Red Sea University and African Parks Foundation; worked with the Red Sea State administration in establishing the Sudan Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) based in Port Sudan. The goals of the Sudan ICZM are to implement sustainable development and conservation in coastal

1 2

Eastern front of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. ESPA, 2006: Article 19, point 50.

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


zones in Sudan, and to maintain their diversity1. The goal of the present research aligns with the environmental planning aims of the Sudan Red Sea ICZM, and the ESPA 20062.

1.4- BOUNDARIES OF THE STUDY: The Sudan landscape is vast, environmentally and culturally diverse. The Eastern region is a land whose people consistently sustained their cultural diversities through the history of civilization. The Bijah are the endogenous people of the Eastern Region and are the majority of the population in the Red Sea and Kasala States. As naturalist, their way of life is unique to the Eastern Region which is the base of their heritage, languages, livestock and communal trades. The Arid Eastern Region of Sudan is the land located to the East of the Nile Valley reaching the Red Sea coast. It extends from the northeastern Sudan boarders with Egypt, to the south east boarders with Eritrea and Ethiopia. This region is made of the Red Sea State and Kasala State; its native inhabitants share lineage, culture, language and common laws and are indivisible. The Eastern Region is the boundary for the environmental, cultural and socioeconomic analysis provided by this research. The application of this study is focused on the arid Red Sea coastal zone and ecosystem. (Fig 1.4)

Fig. 1.4- Regions of Sudan 19741(1)

1 2

ICZM IN SUDAN: ESPA, 2006: Article 19, point 50.

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


The Red Sea landscape covers an area of 218,887 km² and an estimated population of approximately 700,000 (2000). Kasala State boarders its south west boundaries. Port Sudan is the capital city of the state and the major sea port for the Sudan on the Red Sea. Suakin is the second sea port and is located 30 miles south of Port Sudan. (Fig 1.5)

Fig. 1.5- The Red Sea State 20052.

The focus of this study is on the analysis of the relevant geographic, cultural, environmental and economic aspects which contribute to the sustainable development of the arid Red Sea region generally, and the coastal strip in particular. 1.4- RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:

A. Analytical Approach: This research involved a thorough analysis of the following elements: 1- Analysis of available data on the historic, re-occurring and current factors, that are culturally, economically and politically impacting the advancement of the Red Sea State. 2- Analysis of the indigenous culture and people who populate geographic areas of the Red Sea State, for the considerable influence their population may have had on the cultural, economic and political status of the region. This will help determine the cultural aspects to be considered in the development of an 1

By 1991, these regions have been subdivided into 26 States, with the Eastern Region encompassing the Red Sea State. Sudan is currently undergoing new border demarcation to fulfill the results of the referendum passed on 2011. 2 Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia – Sudan. Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


integrated town planning concept for the region. This will also align this research and the proposed future eco-town guidelines with the directive of East Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) 2006. 3- Analysis of Suakin town settlement history, economy and politics related to the rise and fall of this historic town. This is to identify areas of negative influence on the town, and help plan for cautionary strategies in future town planning process. 4- Analysis of relevant historic cultures and economics that may have influenced, not only the socio-economics of the town, but also the planning and architecture features of the historic island of Suakin. This will help determine the historic features to be preserved for future applications, in particular features related to the social and cultural order of the town dwellers. 5- Analysis of the ecosystem of the Red Sea State, with focus on the coastal strip and Suakin in particular. This is to help identify possible impact of climatic change and human contact on the biodiversity of the region, and help develop a conservation plan for the coastal zone. 6- Analysis of relevant regional and community planning concepts to determine the feasibility of integrating modern planning methodologies, in particular environmentally sensitive concepts, with the vernacular structure of the indigenous towns in the Red Sea State. This is to correlate the proposed eco-town planning with the initiatives of the ICZM Sudan.

B. Scientific Procedures and Tools: The research methodology adopted the following procedures and tools: 1- Desk and Data Collection of historic and current documentations from national and regional government and humanitarian agencies, from international institutions and researchers. The data collected included each of the following resources: a- Research models local and international as permissible and applicable by socioeconomic and cultural resemblance to the Red Sea State. b- GIS maps, aerials and statistics. c- Government agencies administrative and economic plans and reports. d- International Human Rights Advocates and Humanitarian Relief. e- Agencies research, surveys and reports. f- Local News Papers. g- International Media Documentaries. h- Online accredited research documents, reports and journals.

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


2- Literature reviewed for this study includes the following relevant areas: a- Concepts on town planning and design theories and produced projects. b- Coastal Systems and Ecologies. c- Marine Life and Aquiculture. d- Water Sheds Systems. e- Climate Change. f- Redevelopment of eco-towns theories and produced projects. g- Green neighborhood planning and design theories and produced projects. h- Eco-planning and architecture theories and produced projects. i- Sustainable communities theories and produced projects. j- Human Development influence on the development of town planning concepts and new technologies. k- The influence of culture on human development and town planning. l- Economics and policy making for town planning and design. m- Socioeconomic and Political History of Sudan. n- History of the Eastern Desert. o- History of the Bijah. p- History of Axum and the Simian Mountains. q- History of Massawa and history of the ancient tribes of Eritrea. r- History of Architectural styles and influence on shelter on the Red Sea. s- History of planning and architecture. t- Expansion of settlements and technological developments. u- Development of public services and infrastructure systems. v- Historic preservations. w- Building materials and methods. x- Green building materials and technologies. y- Green town planning concepts. z- Preservation of natural resources and systems. 3- Comparative analysis of: a- Theories on town planning and design in relation to environmental modeling. b- Development of sustainable green communities from selected culturally and economically compatible indigenous societies. c- Indigenous settlements in Sudan from different regions of related cultural map. 4- Field Survey and Interviews: a- Survey of major existing cities and towns of the eastern region including Suakin historic Island and Gaif, Port Sudan, Kasala, Haya, Sinkat and Gebeit. b- Interview of a teacher from Suakin, two teachers from Port Sudan, three families from Port Sudan related to Hadandawa and Beni Amir tribes, three families from Kasala (Hadandawa, Beni Amir, Rashaidah) three refugees from Kasala, Police officer from Kasala, Tourist Agency from Kasala, Dr. Taha Bedawi – ICZM Port Sudan, Dr. Osama Zain – Planning and Building Department in Suakin, Dr. Basher from UNESCO, Mr. Mallinson (Lead Architect for the renovation efforts in Suakin). Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


c- Field trips to green town developments in USA, Turkey and Morocco. d- Participation in redevelopment projects of historic Ras Al-Had-Oman. e- Participation in the design and production of green public buildings in USA and Middle East.

1.5- DIFFICULTIES FACED: a. Difficulties in obtaining reliable data from government institutions where most information was secured by directors of department only and they were hard to reach. Little information obtained contradicted in many cases with the field survey were outdated. In some case lack of cooperation and diversion lead the research to reach out for foreign help and incurred the burden of unnecessary travel costs for information that turned to be available at the local government offices. b. Noncompliance and lack of cooperation and lack of knowledge of employees in government agencies led to delays in identifying the appropriate officers for interviews and delays in producing accurate documents and added to the research cost. However, less than a handful exhibited professionalism in their responses and were very helpful. c. Lack of coordinated reports and data from government agencies necessitated the application of systematic checks analysis and reviews to data in order to insure accuracy, that which caused more delays in final production of this study. Most officers lacked knowledge in procedures and appropriate type of permit for such a task causing un-necessary repeated visits to different permit departments and stations. d. Difficulty in obtaining photographic permits for regional travel due to lack of coordination between regional government agencies. e. Harassment by uniformed security and undercover officers throughout travel and in visiting historic sites in Suakin, and in-spite of carrying permits and proper identifications caused delays in conducting field survey and documentation. This is in addition to the interference by field security officers in determining what is appropriate for public documentation. f. Scarcity of scientific and credible references regarding the target area and population mostly due to security caps particularly on areas deemed hostile to current administration. g. Distrust of the local population to questioning by researchers in anticipation of counter agency by the researcher in favor to current administration or opposition tribe, and this caused delays in data collection as well. The result was more time spent in befriending the local so as to open doors for indirect interviews and long term observation which in many ways was risky and unsafe. Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


However, it is helpful to approach the tribe through one closely related to the tribe, and was extremely necessary to show respect to the tribe and showed interest even when the conversation lead astray. Exhibiting support, some knowledge of tribal lineage, history and culture was encouraging to the speaker, so was restrain from mentioning other tribes while attending another. Speak less of urban and city life, dressing conservatively was a sing of humbleness to the Bijah. h. Lack of appropriate visitors’ accommodations in rural towns required long term waiting periods in order to locate a trusted and safe refuge and travel means, hence delayed data collection.

1.6- RESEARCH STRUCTURE: A cumulative of eight chapters are included in this study, each chapter addresses a critical area of concerns as follows: Chapter I. INTRODUCTION This chapter presents the problem in question, its boundaries and significance, and explains the process taken to collect the necessary information relevant to this study. Chapter II. SURVEY OF RELATED WORK This chapter will provide a review of the surveyed work that is closely related to this research, and will give a summary of this study intended outcome. Chapter III. LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter will identify the concepts of green, sustainable eco-town planning and design. The present study conducted a review of related theories in urban and town planning including relevant green and sustainable environmental planning practices, supported by current sustainable town and community examples. It also include a review of historic cultural planning practices supported by diverse cultural examples, with special focus on Near East cultural influences on town planning as it relates to Suakin Island and Gaif. Chapter IV. ENVIRONMENTAL DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS OF THE ARID RED SEA STATE This chapter will present a review of the physical environment, the microclimate, the ecosystem and natural resources of the Red Sea State. In addition, a review of the regional economic variables is presented.

Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


Chapter V. SOCIO-CULTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE RED SEA STATE This chapter will investigate the history of settlement patterns that influenced the growth, settlement and shelter patterns in the arid Red Sea State in Sudan, and will focus on the characteristics of historic town planning and building design on the coasts of the Red Sea. Chapter VI. SOCIOECONOMIC ANALYSIS TAKING SUAKIN AS A MODEL. This chapter summarizes the historic development of Suakin town including economic, social and political aspects that contributed to the rise and fall of Suakin, hence impacting the Red Sea Region. Chapter VII. EXISTING CHALLENGES TO HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARID RED SEA STATE This chapter provides a documentation of the research field work findings on different towns in the Red Sea States, and provides results of field observation and interviews that will reflect on different variables that contributed to underdevelopment and poverty in the region. Chapter VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR A SUSTAINABLE , CULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEVELOPMENT TO THE ARID RED SEA STATE COASTAL ZONE. Identification of the climatic planning patterns and characteristics, climatic and cultural building types and characteristics are presented. This chapter presents a summary of the historic planning and building design of Suakin Coral Island. The summary is based on the survey of related work by others as discussed in chapter II, and on the analysis of historic and contemporary planning concepts reviewed in chapter III, and on the socio-cultural analysis conducted in chapter IV and V of this thesis. Findings on the environmental and socio cultural factors that contributed to the fall of Historic Suakin, and those that will influence the redevelopment of Al-Gaif are presented. This chapter presents an analysis of the existing Suakin Gaif town structure, in relation to the existing local zoning and planning codes, to the cultural eco-town planning concept defined in chapter III, and will identify areas of concern that are in need for redevelopment, and finally proposes guidelines for future sustainable development that will accommodate for cultural integration and socio-economic equity in an environmentally friendly landscape. Recommendations for future studies are also presented.

APPENDIXES: The information provided in each appendix (I to III) correlate with the information provided on the Red Sea State, but in a broader context that includes the national landscape historically, culturally, economically and politically. Sustainable Cultural Eco-Town Planning and Design by: Ms. Fedaa El-Dosougi Faculty of Architecture - University of Khartoum, Sudan 2010


Sustainable, Cultural Eco-Town Planning II  
Sustainable, Cultural Eco-Town Planning II  

Chapter I Research on sustainable, cultural eco-town planning and design focused on the coastal zone of the red sea, and aiming for the sus...