The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 79 (2001) > Issues > Issue 19 > Values and change: benefit or problem?
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Values and change: benefit or problem?

What to talk about with so much freedom? Usually, and especially for engineers, one has more constraints than freedoms. The comfortable norm is to compromise the action and feel justified. The bold will switch the rules by denying some constraints and the imaginative by inventing more freedoms. I could show you pictures of Arup works with pride but that is too easy. You have had enough politics this year. I have chosen values and change, and whether we can exploit the interactions between these two powerful and ever present forces. We see our society as changing fast. We are often surprised when we realise that what we know is no longer how things actually are and we had not even anticipated the changes. The traffic arrangements in our streets are a minor example. Go away for a month and when you return there will be new priorities of movement on the roads you use, often capricious changes. Human society has always been changing. Some things matter to us a lot and we do not want to change them, certainly so far as parts of society see it, sometimes most of society. A good case is our values. We can change them but mostly we want to sustain or at least to change our values very slowly. The big changes and our values interact. The changes test these values. Paradox, conflict and priorities emerge. So how can we take benefit from the new light? Sir Duncan Michael, FREng, BSc, PhD, DScDEng, CEng, FIstructE, FICE Arup