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Cover Poverty and Development

19. Engineering for Development  

Peter Robbins, David Wield, and Gordon Wilson

This chapter focuses on the concept of engineering for development (E4D), which falls within the idea of development as deliberate intervention. Some such interventions may contain large-scale infrastructure engineering to meet human needs and/or facilitate economic development, while others are at small scale to meet primarily everyday human needs. Public finance and/or aid usually plays a large part in these interventions, although implementation is likely to include NGOs or the private sector. By following and analysing what engineers do, it becomes clear how E4D is socially produced beyond its strictly technical dimensions. Case studies of E4D suggest that the key concepts for analysing its social production are: ecological modernization, networks, bricolage, and reflexivity. Key issues for infrastructure development are access and effective coordination of implementation networks through cooperative partnerships and/or contracts.