Trade and Mobility on the Rooftop of the World: Gravity Ropeways in Nepal

Authors: Dr. Priti Parikh, University of London and Andrew Lamb, Engineers Without Borders

This case study looks at a rare and challenging mode of transportation: the gravity ropeway. These are mechanically powered devices that, despite their simplicity, are difficult to implement safely but make a dramatic difference to the movement of goods and people. The case study is based solely on work by Practical Action Nepal (Practical Action Nepal, 2014).


  1. The contextual considerations of a technology, using the example of a gravity ropeway
  2. That simple technologies are not necessarily easy to engineer
  3. Applying numerical analysis to a real-world situation
  4. The roles of technology and professionalism in promoting human development


Class Activity: Individual work and design with numerical analysis – ropeway design and loading.

Homework Activity: Individual work and personal research and essay – alternative contexts and implications for design and socio-economic factors.


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