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Urban Micro Enterprises Using Appropriate Technology Principles

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1089.1 - 6.1089.6



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Paper Authors

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Robert Kilmer

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Jr., Carl Erikson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2460

Urban Microenterprises using Appropriate Technology Principles

Carl A. Erikson, Jr., Robert A. Kilmer Messiah College


Greater than 50% of the world’s population of 6.1 billion people live in cities[1]. By the year 2020 it is estimated that 65% of the world’s population of 8.1 billion will live in cities[2]. Basic subsistence requirements of food, shelter, energy, jobs, and medical services for these urban areas will be greatly needed. What can we do to assist the multitudes of needy people around the world?

Appropriate Technology(AT) principles, normally associated with Third World and rural areas, can be successfully applied in urban areas to help urbanites help themselves by developing microenterprises which will assist in sustaining their families. Appropriate technologies are “local, self-help, self-reliant technologies that local people themselves choose, which they can understand, maintain, and repair. They are generally simple, capital saving, labor enhancing, and culturally acceptable. Ecologically, appropriate technologies are environmentally sustainable, as much as possible using renewable energy, and limiting atmospheric, chemical, and solid waste pollution.”[3] These principles can be taught and concretely demonstrated to urbanites so they catch a new vision for their own future.

Importance of the City to the Survival of Our Planet

The way we grow and maintain our cities in the 21st century will either allow our future generations to enjoy a great quality of life or will cause great harm to their chances of basic survival. The following gives us an insight on how important cities are to our survival.

“For thousands of years, cities have existed apart from nature. Why should we begin now to think of cities in terms usually reserved for the natural environment? The fact is, in the world that we’ve created for ourselves, cities occupy pivotal positions, for better or worse, in the patterns of global ecology. This becomes clear when we put aside our standard images of cities and consider their ecological functions. Cities of the industrial era have consciously excluded natural processes, substituting mechanical devices made possible by intensive use of fossil fuels. Rather than using the solar energy continuously falling on their streets and buildings, they dissipate it as excess heat. At the same time, they import immense quantities of concentrated energy in various forms, most of it derived from petroleum coaxed from the ground in distant landscapes. They rush the water falling upon their roofs and streets as rain out through concrete pipes and channels into the nearest bay or river and, at the same time, bring water in from distant landscapes through similar concrete channels.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Kilmer, R., & Erikson, J. C. (2001, June), Urban Micro Enterprises Using Appropriate Technology Principles Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9942

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