Information Exchange: Publications

A Native American Perspective on Sustainable Infrastructure

Author: Stuart G. Harris

"Infrastructure and sustainable development are two of the many intertwined threads of our traditional baskets. If infrastructure and sustainable development are to co-exist and co-evolve to form intelligent and pleasing patterns, there must be restraints on infrastructure design and use. Examples of engineering restraints include restraints on location, disturbance, and sprawl. Operational restraints include limiting emissions, and behavioral restraints include limiting off-road access. Sustainable development requires a robust and diverse natural resource base. It also requires a diverse and robust set of cultural and economic bases, and a recognition that mankind and his systems, forms, and patterns are inseparable from the evolving environmental basket into which he is woven. This has been taught for thousands of years as indigenous environmental management science. The role of infrastructure is, or should be, to protect values, biodiversity, cultural diversity, and land use options of future generations. This is true of both the physical infrastructure and increasingly the information infrastructure. We have an opportunity to consciously incorporate these values into physical infrastructure as we repair it and develop new projects, and also into the information infrastructure. But we must recognize that different people have different infrastructure needs. The European dream of conquering the wilderness, manicuring the forests, improving on nature, making the world look like England, and fulfilling the American dream of material possessions and white picket fences must be realigned. We must look at infrastructure within a larger context of long-term interwoven multi-species survival."

Date Created: November 1999; Date Posted: April 2006






Click the links above to reach the Information Exchange, a comprehensive database of ICIS work. Click on People for the background or experience of ICIS people and their related projects or publications. Click on Projects for the scope and details of ICIS projects and related publications or events. Click Publications for a list of ICIS documents. Events will lead you to ICIS events. Topic Areas categorizes entries by a particular area of interest.