18th May 2015, 10:37am
British Council grant supports research into sustainable future for Egypt
Aswan, Egypt Grant funding from the British Council will enable an international team of researchers to address pressing environmental issues affecting poor communities living in underdeveloped areas of Egypt.

Dr Amira Elnokaly, Programme Leader for MSc Sustainable Architectural Design at the University of Lincoln, UK, has been awarded £40,000 to establish a research network for generating new sustainable design strategies and approaches, which will focus on improving the social welfare of low and middle-income communities and benefitting poor and vulnerable populations in urban areas of Egypt.

She said: “In Egypt there is governmental pressure for rebuilding communities and providing long-term strategies for sustainable development. Regeneration clearly does not happen overnight, but setting clear agendas for sustainable development and designing redevelopment roadmaps can reinforce a sense of community, make an important contribution to the local economy and act as a catalyst for improvements to the wider area.

“We therefore hope the outcomes of our investigations will have a real impact and be of utmost importance to researchers, developers and the governmental sector, as the agenda is set for building sustainable communities across Egypt.”

Dr Elnokaly will lead a pioneering research event in Aswan, Egypt, with the funding from the British Council’s Newton Fund Researcher Links initiative, which brings together academics, professional practitioners and early-career researchers to encourage international collaboration.

The four-day workshop, hosted in partnership with the Department of Architecture at Cairo University, takes place in December 2015. It will explore topics including sustainability and positive social change, regenerating heritage sites for sustainable communities, and the awareness and use of clean energy.

“Sustainable design isn’t just about building an efficient and resilient physical environment – although that of course is an important aspect of our work. Research shows that strategies focusing on social, cultural and economic, as well as environmental, sustainability reap great rewards in terms of supporting a community’s cultural identity,” Dr Elnokaly said. “This is particularly the case in countries like Egypt, where it is so important to balance the great historical and cultural significance of an area on one hand with its local economic viability on the other.”

Researchers from across Egypt and the UK will aim to develop a new understanding of urban and community resilience in the country, make recommendations for new eco-cities to avoid unplanned development and energy blackouts, and establish new research and enterprise collaborations which could benefit the sustainable design agenda in Egypt for years to come.

Dr Elnokaly will be joined by colleagues from the University of Lincoln’s School of Architecture & Design, Dr Anna Catalani and Dr Ahmed Elseragy, who will present the work of their research groups in Lincoln, which study topics including liveable cities, cultural contexts, and sustainable design and habitat.

The workshop takes place from 13th – 16th December 2015. It will be attended by 20 UK and 20 Egyptian representatives, and early career researchers from across the UK are invited to apply now for a fully-funded place. To express an interest and to request more information, applicants can contact Dr Elnokaly directly via email: aelnokaly@lincoln.ac.uk.