Engineering in Regional Development : A Study of the Role of the Engineer in the Development of the Brazilian Northeast.

by Herbert S. Dordick

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The story of development efforts in the Brazilian "drought polygon," a depressed area of 940,000 sq km with a largely illiterate population of 25,000,000. Since 1887 Brazil has been constructing vast public "works against the drought," but this hydraulic engineering approach has failed because it is not possible to overcome drought on such a huge scale. Since December 1961, SUDENE (Superintendency for the Development of the Northeast) has attempted, by nonengineering means of regional economic planning, to increase employment opportunities and agricultural productivity and to relocate surplus population, but progress is very slow. What is needed is a systems engineering-operations research-applications engineering approach, based on a new, smaller region: the demonstration or implementation region, an area small enough for grassroots participation and for technologically feasible utilization of all resources toward some visibly successful development within a reasonably short time. (Prepared for a UCLA political science seminar and revised for presentation at the Interdisciplinary Development Study Group seminar at USC in the spring of 1967.) 38 pp.

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