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Title:Addressing the influence of context and development in rural international engineering design
Author(s):Witmer, Ann-Perry
Director of Research:Bhattarai, Rabin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bhattarai, Rabin
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hansen, Alan C.; Elliott-Litchfield, J. Bruce; Michelson, Hope; Gille, Zsuzsa; Ochoa-Herrera, Valeria; Banadda, Noble
Department / Program:Engineering Administration
Discipline:Agricultural & Biological Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Engineering, International, Contextual, Rural, Infrastructure, Influences, Design
Abstract:Accumulating research data indicate engineers who design infrastructure for rural international societies fall prey to the globalization notion of discounting alternately developed societies’ needs and conditions in favor of values and knowledge that most closely aligns with the engineers’ own experience. A sociological analysis of the relationship between technology interventions and place-based identities, particularly for rural societies that are less interconnected with the industrialized world, indicates that imposition of global standards leads to loss of identities as well as the local knowledges that form through interaction with people and place. Engineering analysis, however, indicates promotion of industrialized technology is assumed to be a best practice for addressing societal physical needs, even in isolated rural locations, and is intrinsically tied to the longstanding notion of economic and social development. This dissertation proposes a new approach to addressing physical needs for alternately developed societies. If engineers cultivate a full understanding of the local influences that drive client-community values and functions, they can design a technical infrastructure that is more compatible with context, thus improving sustainability and effectiveness of operation for the infrastructure user, while at the same time conserving place-based knowledge and supporting rural livelihoods.
Issue Date:2018-11-29
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Ann-Perry Witmer
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-06
Date Deposited:2018-12

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