Challenge to Civil Engineering

by Harvey Brooks,

Serial Information: Journal of the Professional Practice, 1964, Vol. 90, Issue 1, Pg. 21-28

Document Type: Journal Paper


This paper is a description of the scope and content of the Engineers Joint Council Engineering Research Committee Report, with particular reference to its implications for civil engineering. There has been a tremendous growth in federal support of science-based technological activities related to national security but no corresponding attention to the civilian problems brought about by urbanization and technological complexity of the economy. The engineer of the future must, at the same time, be more conscious of the interaction between technology and society and more alert to the opportunities and limitations arising from basic science. Areas of importance to the civil engineer will include: Incorporation of the quantitative techniques of economic and social analysis into engineering planning; development of a methodology for the design of data-collecting systems for control of the environment; development of a science of applying science through systematic cost-benefit evaluation of specific scientific knowledge; the automation of many design procedures; and the radical revision of classical design methods to take into account the possibilities of modern information technology.

Subject Headings: Control systems | Federal government | Security | Urban development | Professional societies | Economic factors | Social factors | Quantitative analysis

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