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Infrastructural Ecologies: Alternative Development Models for Emerging Economies

Infrastructural Ecologies: Alternative Development Models for Emerging Economies

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Publication Date: June 2nd, 2017
The MIT Press
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An integrated, holistic model for infrastructure planning and design in developing countries.

Many emerging nations, particularly those least developed, lack basic critical infrastructural services—affordable energy, clean drinking water, dependable sanitation, and effective public transportation, along with reliable food systems. Many of these countries cannot afford the complex and resource-intensive systems based on Western, single-sector, industrialized models. In this book, Hillary Brown and Byron Stigge propose an alternate model for planning and designing infrastructural services in the emerging market context. This new model is holistic and integrated, resilient and sustainable, economical and equitable, creating an infrastructural ecology that is more analogous to the functioning of natural ecosystems.

Brown and Stigge identify five strategic infrastructure objectives and illustrate each with examples of successful projects from across the developing world. Each chapter also highlights exemplary preindustrial systems, demonstrating the long history of resilient, sustainable infrastructure. The case studies describe the use of single solutions to solve multiple problems, creating hybridized and reciprocal systems; “soft path” models for water management, including water reuse and nutrient recovery; post carbon infrastructures for power, heat, and transportation such as rural microhydro and solar-powered rickshaws; climate adaptation systems, including a multi-purpose tunnel and a “floating city”; and the need for community-based, equitable, and culturally appropriate projects.

About the Author

Hillary Brown is Principal of the consulting firm New Civic Works and Professor of Architecture at City College of New York, where she directs its interdisciplinary program in Urban Sustainability. As Assistant Commissioner at New York City's Department of Design and Construction, she founded its Office of Sustainable Design in 1996.

Byron Stigge is Founder of the Level Agency for Infrastructure, a New York City based infrastructure planning and engineering firm implementing projects predominantly in developing countries.