TRANSFORMATION OF A VILLAGE: CASE OF WAD AL ABBAS, SENNAR STATE, SUDAN
Understanding socioeconomic changes associated with the conversion of rural areas to urban and the factors behind them are essential for future prospects. Theoretical debates on the topic have flourished. However, empirical case studies, particularly from developing nations, are limited. This study attempts to fill the gap through a case study of a village in Sudan. The development of Wad al Abbas village is investigated using remote sensing techniques employing free Landsat satellite images. The study used the Object-Based Image Analysis (OBIA) approach to detect the village sprawl between 1987 and 2018. Results showed significant built-up growth (84.5% increase) between 1987 and 1998 and this is linked to the natural increase in population, diversification of income as a result of a change in jobs from farming to trade, migration of a large number of its residents in and outside the country, and attraction of administrative and governmental institutions. Although Wad al Abbas starts to have a town feature in terms of population size and other metrics, still there are many challenges facing this transformation. These include water, education, health, sewage system, solid waste, drainage system, landslide, water channel for the agricultural scheme (canal), the meandering of the Blue Nile, and inner road network. High-resolution satellite images could be used to help in the investigation of these challenges. Recommendations are made on how to deal with these challenges. The lesson learned from this study is the value of the use of the space (free satellite images) to document changes that couldn’t be monitored especially in developing countries where historical maps or aerial photographs are not available.