Assessing stakeholders’ perspectives towards the conservation of the built heritage of Suakin, Sudan

The conservation of built heritage is recognized as a vehicle for sustaining local identity and a powerful instrument for urban regeneration. The problem of how to engage local culture in this process, however, has received comparatively little attention, despite the recognition of ‘stakeholders’ and the importance of their involvement. This research examines how collaboration between stakeholders might be established to conserve and thus help regenerate the historic and largely abandoned port town of Suakin. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with representatives of Suakin’s stakeholder groups and supported through archival analysis and observational studies. The intention was to explore the stakeholders’ views of the ‘conservation drivers’, ‘conservation practice’, and ‘conservation challenges and enablers’ affecting Suakin. The stakeholders’ response provides a preliminary status to the various perspectives concerning the conservation of Suakin’s built heritage. The findings identify a number of major issues impacting Suakin’s conservation and reveal a potential for implementing a comprehensive and inclusive conservation approach. The research establishes the case for further research to determine best methods to enable stakeholders to collaboratively address the issues impacting Suakin’s conservation. This approach to stakeholder involvement represents a new step towards the conservation of Suakin and a new contribution towards the conservation process.