Documentation:Open Case Studies/CIVL/Resources

From UBC Wiki

CIVL Resources

Civil Engineering case study

SiD definition of Sustainability

“Sustainability is a state of a complex, dynamic system. In this state a system can continue to flourish without leading to its internal collapse or requiring inputs from outside its defined system boundaries.

Applied to our civilization, this state is consistent with an equitable and healthy society, as well as thriving ecosystems and a beautiful planet.” [1]

SiD methods

SiD's method consists of cycle of actions that is usually cycled through several times during a project. The cycle can be entered at any point. It involves gathering experts from multi-disciplines for a short period of time (usually 5 days) in a single room where they envision, analyze, map, understand, invent, and evaluate in rapid cycles. [1] SiD method.PNG


SiD acknowledges three dimensions of impact: object level, network level and systematic level. Among the three dimensions, systematic level is the primary target for optimization because its impact is far greater than the other two levels. There are separate sets of indicators on each and together those indicators can be fed into the systematic level where sustainability can be measured.[1]

Below shows the set of indicators from the object level.
captions:Sid Spectrum Analysis

The spectrum, or ELSIA, provides a way for "systematic thinking" which allows users to map relationship between objects. It can be used for indicator selection, effect mapping and many other stages of systems analysis. In particular, ELSIA stands for: Energy & Materials (Matter), Life (Species & Ecosystems), Society (Economy & Culture), Individual (Health & Happiness), Actions (Utility & Purpose). The categories are intertwined. For example, Individuals are part of Society, Life is made of Energy and Materials and so on. [2]


The results of SiD's methodology has been evaluated in the fields of business strategy, agriculture, the built environment, industry, knowledge management and policy development. SiD evaluates multiple aspects of sustainability which can be categorized into the following sectors:[1]

  • People
    (social justice, diversity, transparency of decision making and governance policies)
  • Nature
    (biodiversity, ecosystems, capacity for value addition and safety)
  • Closed-loop metabolism
    (circular economy, zero waste, water natural and toxin free)
  • Resilient systems
    (ability of a system to handle sudden disruption)
  • Innovation
    (multi-disciplinary setup promotes innovative solutions)
  • Bottom up strength, top-down strategy

What is a case study?

"Engineering Case", "Case", and "Case Study" are used loosely and interchangeably in engineering. An Engineering Case is: an account of an engineering activity, event or problem containing some of the background and complexities actually encountered by an engineer. A case is used in engineering courses to enhance learning about engineering principles and practices. [3]

Environmental ethics expands the study of ethics into the non-human world.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Symbiosis in Development (SiD), 2009.
  2. Symbiosis in Development: ELSIA.
  4. Wikipedia. Retrieved on April 16, 2016. Environmental Ethics. Retrieved on April 16, 2016 from: