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March 27, 2017

Should we trust engineers to design infrastructure?
Engineers have traditionally played the role of project designer, engaging the community for feedback and endorsement only. What would happen if we put the power of design in the hands of the end user – the community? Who better to craft their local spaces than the ones who live, work and play there?
     Authorities can commission a road, a rail line, a gas or water pipeline – but, in the absence of community feedback, they can’t hope to properly understand the effects of that infrastructure unless they consult the people who will actually use it i.e. drive the road, take the train, use the gas or the water. Rewind even further, and authorities may discover that these ‘local experts’ could have provided vital inputs into the challenges and intricacies of the need for, and design of, such infrastructure, including the landscape and local user issues. This way of thinking recognises that the most powerful resources in the room are not always the engineers. Truth be known, engineers have a tendency to focus on the technical outcomes at the expense of the human experiences. 
     Read full story of this glimpse of the future crafted by Kylie Cochrane in the February 2017 issue of Building Journal. Subscribe Building Journal E-version <click here>



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