Unintended Social and Economic Consequences Resulting from the Implementation of New Construction Technologies in the Developing World

By Andrew South and Mark Hutchings.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

One of the key components of international development is to provide adequate shelter for citizens of developing countries. This is often accomplished by governmental, non-governmental, and private organizations that seek to lower the cost, increase the quality, and expand the availability of safe, sustainable housing through the use of innovative technologies. These new technologies can affect the social and/or economic structure within communities. This paper is a case study resulting from the construction of a seventy-one-home village, including infrastructure, near Yogyakarta, Indonesia by a foreign, aid-based non-governmental organization (NGO). The village was relocated less than two kilometers from its original site after a massive landslide, triggered by the 2006 earthquakes of Central Java, virtually destroyed the entire community. Four years after construction the researchers took an inductive inquiry approach through interviews with residents of the community and residents of neighboring communities to explore the unintended consequences to the community resulting from the NGO’s use of innovative housing technologies (steel reinforced concrete domes and planned community development) without a thorough understanding of underlying community culture and interactions.

Keywords: Unintended Consequences, International Development, Built Environment, Technology Transfer, Sustainability, Concrete Domes, Planned Communities

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 711.750KB).

Andrew South

Graduate Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Dr. Mark Hutchings

Assistant Professor, Department of Construction Management, College of Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA