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  3. Sustainability in Developing Communities

Sustainability in Developing Communities (MULT10013)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeMULT10013
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


The volunteer organisation Engineers Without Borders (EWB) seeks involvement of teams of first-year students in a ‘challenge’ to devise solutions for real problems in under-developed communities. In this subject you will work in teams to develop conceptual solutions for sustainable development projects identified by EWB's community partners that contribute towards real international development projects.

From each of the diverse and practical projects offered by the EWB, you will have the opportunity to choose from a range of problems. Each of these problems will require you to develop new technical and communication skills, whilst encouraging innovation and creativity in order to address the needs of the overall project.

The four best team proposals will be submitted for external judging. The national winning proposal is used in discussions with that local community to develop practical solutions to the challenges of poverty, and improve the quality of lives from a social, environmental and economic perspective.

(See: http://www.ewbchallenge.org)


Topics covered include sustainability, community development, teamwork and reflective practice. Processes include reflective writing, teamwork, and proposal development.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the student should be able to demonstrate:

  1. The use of a systems approach to problem solving that considers the appropriateness of any solution to the problem context
  2. The ability to apply knowledge and concepts drawn from various disciplines to the cultural setting and develop innovative solutions to the problem
  3. Skills in integrating sustainable development, problem context and ethical considerations into the decision making process
  4. The ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution whilst considering the specific context of the problem
  5. The ability to evaluate the environmental benefits and impacts of a solution against other decision drivers to find the optimal solution
  6. Recognition of the need for community development / engagement principles to be applied to inform the development of potential solutions, the decision-making processes and the implementation and understanding of the key principle that the positive values of a proposal must be greater than the costs to the community
  7. Awareness of the implications of the physical context of the site i.e. geographic location and environmental factors
  8. The ability to communicate effectively, not only with other professionals but also with the community at large, through written, oral and visual media.

Generic skills

At the end of this subject you should have developed:

  • The ability to work in teams
  • To engage with complex real world problems in under-developed communities and arrive at culturally sensitive and sustainable solutions
  • Ability to integrate knowledge across and between disciplines in order to achieve the desired outcomes of the project
  • Understanding of social and cultural diversity – including Indigenous cultures; valuing different cultures
  • Global citizenship skills by advocating for improving the sustainability of the environment.

Last updated: 22 May 2019