The process of urbanization in Sudan, like in many other developing countries, cannot be untangled from the varying waves of displacement, migration, and movement. Through decades of protracted displacements and humanitarian crises, Sudan has struggled to formulate a comprehensive displacement response plan. The challenge is so pressing that the former Transitional Government of Sudan, which came to power through the December revolution, has identified addressing the situation of displaced populations in the country as one of the top ten priorities to be tackled during the turbulent intended 3-year transitional period. With this complex context in mind, our intent in this research is to examine select Sudanese cities; Khartoum, Nyala and Kassala, as fixed geographic nodes in the tides of politics, movement and time, all while paying special attention to various processes of city-growth, including displacement and migratory flows. We aim through such contextualization of our urban margins to uncover more useful narratives on the emergence, present and future, of Sudanese cities that can lead the way forward.
In our exploration, carried out in consultation with individuals from displaced populations themselves, Sudan urban displacement scholars, and development and humanitarian actors, we hope to amplify and consolidate the varied voices that have made claims on urbanization and displacement in Sudan. More significantly, we intend to utilize the current political movement to push forward a Sudanese urban research agenda and gather support for it.
The background note produced at the end of the project will frame the relationship between displacement and urbanization in Sudan specifically and the Global South in a more general sense. The research makes a concerted effort to adopt a feminist and decolonial praxis as a political position; as it intentionally aims to contribute to fairer and more just (urban) societies. Through this lens, the research will identify critical questions in addressing urban displacement as part of the country’s political transition.