Dimensions of Engineering Design
Works all the time
Works initially, but stops working after a short time Meets only some technical requirements Costs more than it should
Meets all technical requirements Meets cost requirements Requires little or no maintenance Is safe
Requires frequent maintenance Poses a hazard to user
Creates no ethical dilemma
Fulfills a need that is questionable
Source: Horenstein, M. N. 1999. Design Concepts for Engineers. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. With permission.
ically based design which is fundamentally relevant for ecological engineering (Orr, 2002; Papanek, 1971; Todd and Todd, 1984, 1994; Van Der Ryn and Cowan, 1996; Wann, 1990, 1996; Zelov and Cousineau, 1997). These works on ecological design are perhaps not sufficiently quantitative to strictly qualify as engineering, but they contain important insights necessary for sound engineering practice.
The relationship between ecological engineering and several specific engineering fields also needs to be clarified. Of most importance is the established discipline of environmental engineering. This specialization developed from sanitary engineering (Okun, 1991), which dealt with the problem of treatment of domestic sewage and has traditionally been associated with civil engineering. The field has broadened from its initial start and now deals with all aspects of environment (Corbitt, 1990; Salvato, 1992). Ecological engineering is related to environmental engineering in sharing a concern for the environment but differs from the latter fundamentally in emphasis. There is a commitment to using ecological complexity and living ecosystems with technology to solve environmental problems in ecological engineering, whereas environmental engineering relies on new chemical, mechanical, or material technologies in problem solving. A series of joint editorials published in the journal Ecological Engineering and the Journal of Environmental Engineering provide further discussion on this relationship (McCutcheon and Mitsch, 1994; McCutcheon and Walski, 1994; Mitsch, 1994). Hopefully, ecological and environmental engineering can evolve on parallel tracks with supportive rather than competitive interactions. In practice, closer ties may exist between ecological engineering and the established discipline of agricultural engineering. As noted by Johnson and Phillips (1995), "agricultural engineers have always dealt with elements of biology in their practices." Because ecology as a science developed from biology, a natural connection can be made between ecological and agricultural engineering, using biology as a unifying theme. At the university level, this relationship is being strengthened as many agricultural engineering departments are broadening in perspective and converting into biological engineering departments.
Was this article helpful?