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Engineers and Community: How Sustainable Engineering Depends on Engineers’ Views of People

  • Juan C. Lucena

Abstract

Inspired by the book From Clients to Citizens: Communities Changing the Course of their Own Development which shows the importance of rethinking people from clients to citizens in the effectiveness of community development projects, the central argument of this chapter is that the successes or failures of sustainable development (SD) engineering projects depend greatly on how engineers view and engage the people they work with. During the brief history of engineering involvement in SD, engineers have worked with people, viewing them mainly as clients and less so as stakeholders, users, or citizens. Each of these views of people by engineers prescribes the way engineers listen to and work collaboratively with people to turn SD projects into real sustainability.After briefly conceptualizing listening as the most important element of dialogue and showing how SD might be more sustainable when grounded on specific localities, this chapter maps the different categories – clients, stakeholders, users, and citizens – that engineers have used, or could use, to view the people they try to serve, and how each of these categories shapes the way in which engineers listen and work with them. While listening to and working with people labeled “clients” or “stakeholders” might be more empowering for the status of engineers as experts, it might be less effective in turning SD projects into long-term sustainability. On the other hand, listening to and working with people as “users” or “citizens” might be less empowering for engineers but more effective for sustainability.

Keywords

Sustainable Development Sustainable Solution Participatory Rural Appraisal Stakeholder Analysis Contextual Listening 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan C. Lucena
    • 1
  1. 1.Liberal Arts and International StudiesColorado School of MinesGolden, COUSA

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