GARRICK E. LOUIS
University of Virginia
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alleviating poverty and ensuring sustainability present daunting challenges and great opportunities for engineering in the 21st century. The challenges involve not only the technical complexities of developing sustainable, affordable, small-scale infrastructure and other engineered systems, but also the “engineering” of difficult interfaces between these technical components and the socio-economic, cultural, and political contexts in which they are embedded. The opportunities are principally the “opportunity cost” to society of resolving these problems and the size of the potential markets that will benefit from innovations, including 3 billion people who live on less than $2 per day, 2.1 billion who do not have access to sanitation services, and 1.2 billion who do not have access to safe drinking water.
The goal of the session on engineering for developing communities is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge about new techniques and approaches across engineering disciplines to address these problems. This session has three objectives: (1) to inform attendees of the challenges and constraints of engineering for developing communities; (2) to generate discussion and ideas for innovations; and (3) to create a network among attendees for future collaborations.
The presentations focus on three main areas: (1) meeting basic human needs—energy, water, security, health; priorities; challenges; and innovations in technology, methods, and policy; (2) innovations for development—creating added value, opportunities, appropriate technology, indigenous knowledge, role