Document Type



Civil Engineering | Environmental Engineering | Geotechnical Engineering


The built environment serves as a dynamic interface through which the human society and the ecosystem interact and influence each other. Understanding this interdependence is key to understanding sustainability as it applies to civil engineering. There is a growing consensus that delivering a sustainable built environment starts with incorporating sustainability thoughts at the planning and design stages of a project. Geotechnical engineering is the most resource intensive of all the civil engineering disciplines and can significantly influence the sustainability of infrastructure development because of its early position in the construction process. In this report, a review is made of the scope geotechnical engineering offers towards sustainable development of civil infrastructure. The philosophies and definitions of sustainability as applicable in geotechnical engineering are discussed and a comprehensive review is done of the research studies performed in geotechnical engineering that contributes to sustainable development. It is revealed from the literature review that there is a need for a quantitative sustainability assessment framework in geotechnical engineering. Consequently, a multicriteria based sustainability assessment framework is introduced that can be used at the planning and design stages of geotechnical projects. This quantitative framework combines life cycle assessment, environmental impact assessment and cost benefit analysis, and can be used to assess the relative sustainability of different design choices in geotechnical engineering.