December 28, 2017


ST 203 – Design, Technology and Sustainability

The course is open to students with a basic degree in engineering, science or architecture. This is a typical ‘learning-by-doing’ course in which students (from diverse disciplinary backgrounds) take up a topic of their interest and perform a rigorous exercise to thoroughly understand, evaluate, define and forecast sustainability attributed to their chosen topic. The interactive sessions start with a debate on development, covering its definitions, traditional and modern interpretations, dimensions, underlying premise and indicators.

A comprehensive morphology-based understanding of technology/design and the detailed morphological analysis of each design/technology chosen for study provides the basis for subsequent development of the technology/design-integrated systems model. To begin with, the process of developing the systems model facilitates identification of first and second (dependent) order stakeholders linked across the morphology of the technology/design and life-cycle phases. This subsequently unfolds into a comprehensive multi-stakeholder sustainability perspective and permits traceability of sustainability indicators/impacts across various stakeholders and geographies. An emphasis is placed on defining sustainability (relevant and unique to individual projects) and identification of appropriate indicators. Amidst the diversity of individual projects dealt with in the course, a significant share of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are discerned from a multidimensional viewpoint to consequently arrive at sustainability indicators and identification of possible technology/design-based interventions to aid/infuse/improve sustainability within the system.

Besides covering the fundamental mandate of SDG-4: ‘Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’, the course encompasses a much wider systems-thinking perspective on sustainability in all its multifaceted dimensions including social, environmental and economical. The feasibility, opportunities, challenges and limitations in achieving sustainability are also addressed.


  • Mani, M., Ganesh, L. S. and Varghese, K. (2005) Sustainability and Human Settlements: Fundamental Issues, Modeling and Simulations, Sage Publications, New Delhi.
  • TechMotivator: Technology Management Newsletter []
  • Sustainable Development Goals []
  • Brundtland Commission.(1987) Our Common Future, Oxford University Press.
  • Kumarappa, J. C. (1945) Economy of Permanence, Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Rajghat, Varanasi.
  • Bell, S. and Morse, S.(2008)Sustainability Indicators: Measuring the Immeasurable?, Earthscan Publications, London.
  • Elliott, J. A.(2002)An Introduction to Sustainable Development, Routledge, New York.
  • Meadows, D. H. (2008)Thinking in Systems: A Primer, Chelsea Green Publishing Company, White River Junction, Vermont.
  • Papanek, V.(2000) Design for the real world, Academy Chicago Publishers, Illinois.