Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 202100172
Social Sustainability
Course infoSchedule
Course module202100172
Credits (ECTS)3
Course typeStudy Unit
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. A.K. Poole
Contactperson for the course
dr. A.K. Poole
dr. A.K. Poole
Academic year2023
Starting block
RemarksPart of module 6 B-CE
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
Number of insufficient tests0
  • analyse the SDG framework and the interrelation of social, economic and analyse the SDG framework and the interrelation of social, economic and environmental well- being for infrastructure and design;
  • evaluate the potential impact of the installation the new bridge (including their own project) on the district and beyond by considering the SDGs (especially: societal sustainability) and be able to provide recommendations for future design;
  • engage interdisciplinary and stake-holder engagement key for communication with the public utilizing the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework and the SDGs

This is a part of Module 6, Sustainable Civil Engineering of the Bachelor Civil Engineering. See here for the complete description of this module.

Social sustainability is a key component to design in that it refers to the quality of life, well-being, and fundamental rights of the community that lives within the infrastructure we design. As civic engineers, being able to understand the linkage between design and social well-being is key to understanding the ways in which infrastructure can shift and change life-habits and everyday life. Additionally, infrastructure can exacerbate or mitigate dynamics already within society, such as equitable access to civic services, social disparities, and environmental health. In this case, the smart bridge provides some unique opportunities to reflect on design innovations upon the “internet of things’ and capturing real-time data that can both passively and actively impact the user. The bridge also has to be a signature structure, i.e., a structure that is unique and may be an architectural symbol for the area in Amsterdam, where it is located, or even the entire city. Members of society may react to its presence differently. Residents may find it to be another tourist attraction, adding more ‘noise’ to the already vibrant (and sometimes distracting) areas in Amsterdam, whereas tourists might enjoy it is an attraction or spot for selfies. At the same time, knowing that the bridge ‘is collecting data’, may draw one’s attention and curiosity. For example, if the data is available, are the people who are captured in cameras anonymized before they become ‘data’ in the sensor network? How will residents and other bridge users benefit from the data? What other ways will the type of design impact the community? And what about stakeholders? Asset owners would like to know how the bridge and its information is used. We might also find answers to the following questions: how many pedestrians, cyclists cross it, does it attract tourists, are tourists sitting on the handrails, is someone tempted to draw a graffiti or vandalize the sensor network? What role does (or can) the bridge serve in terms of a cultural centre or source of aesthetic engagement? Architects, engineers, contractors would like to learn how the bridge performs in order to improve future design, reduce materials use (this way contributing to sustainable development). By engaging issues in the context of this case study, students will develop practical skills for assessment of social aspects of design.

External students who are interested in this elective: please contact  Peter Jansen (
Module 6
Participating study
Bachelor Civil Engineering
Required materials
Course material
Readings provided in canvas
Course material
Videos that will be made available via canvas
Recommended materials
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes

Social Sustainability Chapter


Kies de Nederlandse taal