Bridging the gap?
The political context of the conversion of the Historic Tramway Bridge, adjacent to Sandon Point in Bulli (NSW, Australia), and how this was exploited to serve predetermined ends, illustrates that technologies can be designed to have particular social (and political) effects. Through reflection on this relatively small engineering project, this paper provides a concrete example of what Langdon Winner (1986) attempted to expose in his (in)famous and contested analysis of “the low bridges of Robert Moses”. The means through which this project reflected specific political and economic interests, and how such interests were largely unmarked and unquestioned, locate issues of concerns for the broader public and the engineering profession as a whole. In reflecting on the Tramway Bridge conversion, consideration is given to how far the project of creating the new engineer has progressed in seeking to address the great social, economic, environmental and cultural challenges of our time (Johnson, 1996).
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