Connecting the “Forgotten”: Transportation Engineering, Poverty, and Social Justice in Sun Valley, Colorado

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores the role that transportation engineering, economic planning, and community engagement play in the development of a lightrail system station in Sun Valley, Colorado, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the state. It describes how such a case can be used to teach principles of social justice, sustainable community development and sustainable engineering in the undergraduate engineering classroom. Students in the course “Sustainable Engineering Design” at the Colorado School of Mines were asked to study the Sun Valley community, meet with members of the community, and study the lightrail project not only as a sustainability project but as one with significant social justice dimensions. This chapter examines the challenges and rewards of integrating engineering and the social sciences in this kind of real-world context, emphasizing the importance of integrating Cech’s critiques of depoliticization and meritocracy in engineering culture.

Keywords

Engineering and sustainability Engineering and development Transportation development Engineering education 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Liberal Arts and International StudiesColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA

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