Engineers and Communities

Engineers and Communities : Transforming Sanitation in Contemporary Brazil

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Access to water and sanitation service in industrialized countries is nearly taken for granted, but in many developing countries less than half of the population has access to such services. Decades of effort on a global scale have been invested to solve this problem. One such effort-Brazil's participatory approach to water and sanitation-is Nance's subject in Engineers and Communities. In the early 1980s, Brazilian engineers created participatory sanitation (known locally as condominial sewerage) to make basic sanitation service more inclusive. Fiercely contested at first, the technology's success hinged on the formation of strong and stable coalitions of diverse actors and on the promotion of both real participation and a participation narrative. The innovations described in the book contributed to the now indispensable concepts of community participation and locally appropriate technology.
Today the technology has spread across Brazil- it has been legally incorporated into sewer design norms and codes, it is counted in the national census, and the model is being transferred to other countries by The World Bank and others who are trying to make basic urban services more inclusive of the poor. Engineers and Communities sheds light on what is essential in the broader discourse of international development.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 214 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 453.59g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739126814
  • 9780739126813
  • 2,251,283

Table of contents

Chapter 1: The Promise and Failure of Development Chapter 2: Institutional Change, Social Movements, and Technological Innovation in Brazil Chapter 3: Situating Services in Two Brazilian Cities Chapter 4: Participation and Alignment in the City of Natal Chapter 5: Alignment and Influence in the City of Recife Chapter 6: An Actor-Oriented Account of Condominial Sewerage Chapter 7: Participatory Sanitation
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Review quote

Earthea Nance's innovative study of the emergence of 'participatory sanitation' artfully applies Bruno Latour's edict to 'follow the actors' to show how, rather than from participation, project success follows from strong 'project coalitions'. While the material content of these 'coalitions' is essential for success, the claim that they are participative is shown to be discursive rather than substantive in character. This timely illumination of the significance of not only the socio-material, but also narrative character of development, provides an important and insightful contribution to the literature. -- Stephen Healy, University of New South Wales This book is among a small number of empirical social studies of utility infrastructure conducted within an urban political ecology framework. By viewing infrastructure development as a socio-technical process, Nance is able to concisely identify and unpack constructs contributing to the success and failure of participatory sanitation projects in Brazil. Engineers and Communities Transforming Sanitation in Contemporary Brazil provides both surprising and practical insights that can help guide and evaluate a broad range of utility infrastructure development programs. -- Scott Miles, associate professor, Western Washington University, and director, Resilience Institute
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About Earthea Nance

Earthea Nance is assistant professor in the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans. She is also a board-licensed civil engineer with over fifteen years of professional practice. Dr. Nance's research interests are environmental hazards, urban infrastructure, and community participation in complex settings such as developing countries, vulnerable communities, high-hazard areas, and post-disaster settings. Originally from San Francisco, Dr. Nance first came to New Orleans as a Hurricane Katrina volunteer. She subsequently joined the city's recovery office as a Ford Foundation loaned-executive to provide expertise in environmental hazard management. Dr. Nance earned an interdisciplinary PhD from Stanford University in the areas of environmental planning and management, Latin American studies, and anthropology. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California-Davis. She previously taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech.
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