Infrastructural Ecologies

Infrastructural Ecologies

Alternative Development Models for Emerging Economies

By Hillary Brown and Byron Stigge

An integrated, holistic model for infrastructure planning and design in developing countries.





An integrated, holistic model for infrastructure planning and design in developing countries.

Many emerging nations, particularly those least developed, lack basic critical infrastructural services—affordable energy, clean drinking water, dependable sanitation, and effective public transportation, along with reliable food systems. Many of these countries cannot afford the complex and resource-intensive systems based on Western, single-sector, industrialized models. In this book, Hillary Brown and Byron Stigge propose an alternate model for planning and designing infrastructural services in the emerging market context. This new model is holistic and integrated, resilient and sustainable, economical and equitable, creating an infrastructural ecology that is more analogous to the functioning of natural ecosystems.

Brown and Stigge identify five strategic infrastructure objectives and illustrate each with examples of successful projects from across the developing world. Each chapter also highlights exemplary preindustrial systems, demonstrating the long history of resilient, sustainable infrastructure. The case studies describe the use of single solutions to solve multiple problems, creating hybridized and reciprocal systems; “soft path” models for water management, including water reuse and nutrient recovery; post carbon infrastructures for power, heat, and transportation such as rural microhydro and solar-powered rickshaws; climate adaptation systems, including a multi-purpose tunnel and a “floating city”; and the need for community-based, equitable, and culturally appropriate projects.


$90.00 X ISBN: 9780262036337 320 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 63 color illus.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262533867 320 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 63 color illus.


  • Through rich and carefully selected examples, the book convincingly shows how infrastructure can be reconceived to be more efficient, interconnected, and sustainable. Importantly, it also shows how infrastructure can play a crucial role in building the collective imaginary of future societies.

    Hashim Sarkis

    Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, MIT

  • This book shifts the dialog to case-based paradigms of infrastructure systems for effectively meeting the huge demands of developing nations, without seriously compromising the environment.

    Spiro N. Pollalis

    Professor of Design, Technology and Management, Harvard Design School

  • Brown and Stigge make a compelling case for systems thinking and collaborative, integrated approaches that embody low carbon, resilient, place-specific solutions that deliver much more than infrastructure to their communities, over the short and long term, thus providing lessons for us all.

    Helen Lochhead

    architect and urbanist; Dean, Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney

  • This is a fascinating book which treads the line between academia and practice, bringing invaluable insights to infrastructural ecologies as a fruitful way to view the challenges of development. The authors draw on myriad real examples of best practice and display profound understanding.

    Peter Guthrie

    Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge