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In engineering, macro-engineering (alternatively known as macroengineering or macro engineering and as mega engineering) is the implementation of extremely large-scale design projects. It can be seen as a branch of civil engineering or structural engineering but just on a very large land area. In particular, macro-engineering is the process of marshaling and managing of resources, technology and public opinion on a large scale to carry out complex tasks that last over a long period.

In contrast to conventional engineering projects, macro-engineering projects (called macro-projects or mega-projects) are multidisciplinary, involving collaboration from all fields of study; they involve not only engineers, but scientists, lawyers, industrialists, soldiers and politicians as well. Macro-projects are usually international; they override political boundaries because most countries lack the social, financial or physical ability to undertake them alone. As a consequence, macro-projects have the power to fundamentally transform its area of focus.

Macro-engineering is an evolving field that is only recently receiving attention. Because we routinely deal with challenges that are multinational in scope, such as global warming and pollution, macro-engineering is emerging as a transcendent solution to worldwide problems. Macro-engineering, or mega-engineering, is distinct from megascale engineering which deals with projects on a planetary or stellar scale. Where macro-engineering is currently practical, mega-scale engineering is still within the domain of speculative fiction.

Macro-engineering in reality

Past macro-projects include the construction of the Panama Canal and Suez Canal, the Channel Tunnel and the planned Gibraltar Tunnel, the construction of cross-country oil pipelines, and most recently, a multinational effort to standardize satellite communication.

Two intellectual centers focused on macro-engineering theory and practice are the Candida Oancea Institute in Bucharest, Romania, and The Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, United States.

See also


  • Frank P. Davidson and Kathleen Lusk Brooke, BUILDING THE WORLD: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT ENGINEERING PROJECTS IN HISTORY, two volumes (Greenwood Publishing Group, Oxford UK, 2006)
  • V. Badescu, R.B. Cathcart and R.D. Schuiling, MACRO-ENGINEERING: A CHALLENGE FOR THE FUTURE (Springer, The Netherlands, 2006)
  • R.B. Cathcart, V. Badescu with Ramesh Radhakrishnan, (2006): Macro-Engineers' Dreams PDF, 175pp. Accessed 24 May 2013
  • Alexander Bolonkin and Richard B. Cathcart, Macro-Projects (NOVA Publishing, 2009)
  • Viorel Badescu and R.B. Cathcart, Macro-engineering Seawater (Springer, 2010), 880 pages.

External links