Recent Question


Design of Environmentally Sustainable Systems
Semester 2, 2013

Faculty of Science and Engineering, QUT


This briefing document outlines the requirements of the individual:
1. Technical Conference paper to be submitted by each student, Semester 2, 2013.
Students can work in pairs or topic groups (same discipline area – different groups) in initial stages of finding references for the technical paper, but must write individual papers.

The objectives of these assessment tasks are to provide the student with the opportunity to demonstrate that they:
• possess an understanding of the nature and purpose of a technical paper; and
• possess the skills necessary to produce such a paper;

Section 2 outlines the task requirements, Section 3 the assessment criteria, and Section 4 the options for topics in each subject area.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering uses the plagiarism-deterrent software SAFE ASSIGN found on Blackboard. Students’ assignments will be submitted to SAFE ASSIGN (See Section 2.2 for submission details), to be evaluated for plagiarism and collusion. Plagiarism is using another person’s ideas, words or products without appropriate and complete acknowledgement and referencing. Plagiarism also includes using another student’s ideas, words or work as your own. Collusion includes sharing your own work with others, using words, ideas and products from another student, and working together on an assignment task that is meant to be a piece of individual work. Plagiarism and collusion are further described in the University’s Manual of Policies and Procedures (QUT MOPP Chapter C Section 9.3.1).


2.1 Technical Conference Paper Writing Requirements

The requirements of the paper are as follow:
• The paper is to be prepared in conformance to QUT Cite/Write found at ;
• The paper is to include a title block, abstract, introduction, body sections, conclusion, and references (no appendixes or bibliography). Page breaks need not be included between these elements, Section numbering is not required;
• Length is to be 2,500 words maximum with 10% variation;
• Exhibits (figures, tables, photos) are to be numbered consecutively (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1…) and labelled appropriately, with sufficient peripheral white space around each exhibit;
• The font to be used is Times Roman 11 point, with single line spacing and full justification, on a single column per page (text and figures);
• The referencing system to be used is QUT APA (author, date style);
• The paper is to be single-sided only; and
• Colour may be used in exhibits provided that monochromatic (black on white) printing yields acceptable contrast.

2.2 Technical Conference Paper Submission

Each student is to submit their own technical paper on or before Friday 25th October 2013 (Week 13) in the following manner:
• Submit single-sided printed copy, stapled but not bound, to AM with title page clearly stating the topic area and title and author.
• Submit electronic copy through SAFE ASSIGN on Blackboard


3.1 Assessment Criteria for Technical Review Paper

Table 1 presents for the technical review paper the items to be assessed and criteria to be used in assessment. The CRA is available on BlackBoard. The available marks for this task totals 25%.

Table 1: Technical Paper Criteria

Item Criteria
Sustainable Development Awareness and Understanding and Application • Demonstrates understanding of the meaning of SD
• Demonstrates ability to source from the literature an appropriate range of SD measures relevant to the topic
• Identifies most significant measures and how they may be applied to the topic
Engineering Critical Review • judges accuracy of information
• judges relevance of information
• judges reliability of information
• applies information appropriately to enhance knowledge around the topic
• identifies outstanding gaps in the knowledge around the topic
Paper Development • sections paper and coordinates sections effectively
• develops topic interestingly through paper
Presentation • formats paper correctly
• Uses exhibits appropriately
• References sources correctly
• Appropriate length
• Attractive, legible appearance
• Uses appropriate language
• Correct spelling, grammar


The subject areas include land planning, sustainable transport, geotechnical assessment, water management, and environmental impact assessment. Within each group of 5 students, each student chooses a unique subject area opposite to the area they were responsible for in the Site Survey and Concept Plan Report. Eg If you looked after Planning in SS and CP you will be doing a Transport topic and vice versa. If you looked after Water, you will be writing a paper on Environmental or geotechnical issues and vice versa.

The paper is meant to be informative to the general technical reader. As such, the student should not presume, nor detail, specific aspects of their group’s development planning exercise. Notwithstanding, findings of the paper could be applicable to the group’s planning exercise.

The following sub-sections present suitable topics in each respective subject area. Only 12 students can select the same topic in a particular discipline. These topics must be selected by Friday 11th October, 2013.

4.1 Land Use Planning Topics

LUP1 Review the desirable characteristics of subdivided land in Australia
This topic involves a review of the desirable characteristics of subdivided land in Australia and other geographically and demographically similar countries. Emphasis should be placed on small scale development projects. Characteristics addressed could include preferred lot areas, lot shapes, facilities, lot slopes and access and sustainable practices.

LUP2 Do Building Rating Tools work?
To reduce the environmental impact of a building we need to be able to measure and quantify its performance so that different options can be compared. There is a wide range of rating schemes and assessment tools that measure different aspects of building sustainability. Rating tools have an important role to play in helping us achieve more sustainable buildings by providing assessment methods and benchmarks that can be used to set minimum standards required by regulation and to encourage best practice.

LUP3 Eco-villages – Are they really sustainable?
Eco-villages are living models of sustainability. Eco-villages are urban or rural communities of people who strive to integrate with a low impact way of life. To achieve this, they integrate aspects of ecological design, ecological building, green production, alternative energy and community building practices. Evaluate this concept and using case studies determine the truth of this statement.

LUP4 Can we build Energy Efficient Houses in SE Queensland?
An energy efficient home is designed to provide shade and allow cooling breezes to enter in summer, while taking advantage of the sun’s warmth in winter. In climate areas where air conditioning and heating are necessary, energy efficient house design can greatly reduce cooling and heating costs. Discuss energy efficiency house design with respect to optimal orientation, size and shading of windows, the amount and type of insulation, landscaping and internal design.

Possible information sources:
o CRC for Construction Innovation

4.2 Sustainable Transport Topics

ST1 How do we improve Public Transport in the urban fringe?
Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public transport servicing in fringe urban and rural residential developments.

ST2 How can Environmental impacts of transport be improved?
Quantify the impacts of car and/or public transport travel on the environment.

ST3 Do traffic calming devices work?
Do traffic calming devices improve peoples' quality of life and reduce local transport facilities use?

ST4 Is Road Hierarchy a valuable tool for land use planning?
Can we use road hierarchy as a tool to plan and manage street networks for fringe urban and rural residential developments?

4.3 Geotechnical Assessment Topics

GA1 What issues affect residential house foundation design?

GA2 Will the type of soil influence foundation design in residential construction?

GA3 Will irrigation or reuse of greywater impact soil physical and chemical properties?

GA4 What are the best ground improvement techniques for soft problem soils?

These topics (Geotechnical Assessment) can be narrowed down to focus on more specific aspects of the topic if desired.

4.4 Water Management Topics

WM1 How do we reduce potable water use in Residential Developments
Moving towards ecological sustainability – water use and waste water recycling techniques for an urban residential development.

WM2 What are the best options for harvesting stormwater?
Explore the Reuse options for harvesting stormwater.

WM3 Water Sensitive Urban Design – Does it work
There are many options for reducing stormwater runoff quantity and improving quality. Water sensitive urban design has been suggested as the saviour for water shortages in our changing climate. Does it work as the theory suggests.

WM4 Centralised or Decentralised on-site Wastewater Treatment?
Evaluate the options and techniques for reusing/recycling wastewater in rural residential developments.

These topics (Water Management) can be narrowed down to focus on more specific aspects of the topic if desired.

4.5 Environmental Impact Assessment Topics

EN1 Riparian Vegetation - Can it influence health of watercourses?
Riparian vegetation is the last line of defence against water pollution and helps to protect streams against the effects of human influence. The importance of riparian areas in maintaining biodiversity needs to be recognised if these areas are to be given management priority and the long-term protection of their values ensured. Review the importance of riparian vegetation and identify any relationships with watercourse health.

EN2 Wildlife/Biodiversity Corridors – Do they work?
Do Wildlife/ Biodiversity corridors contribute to the diversity of fauna or are they another environmental myth?

EN3 Sediment Control Practices - Do they work?
Sediment control practices are used to prevent sand, soil, cement and other building materials from reaching waterways. Even a small amount of pollution from a site can cause significant environmental damage by killing aquatic life, silting up streams and blocking stormwater pipes. Review why sediment control is important and evaluate methods to minimise the potential for erosion.

EN4 Do Environmental Values contribute to more sustainable development?
Can Environmental values benefit residential developments or does it provide extra layers of bureaucracy without any long term benefit.

Possible information sources:
IPENZ website


Aldila Firsty Fitriana
Undergraduate Student, School of Civil Engineering
Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point Campus

Transportation is one of the major causes of assorted urban issues such as urban traffic which is chaotic and its economic as well as social impact profound. In contrast with other urban issues faced by growing community, transportation system will deteriorate along with economic development. While sanitation, education and other sectors will improve as the economic sector improved. There are five constituents regarding transportation:
1. Human – who needs transportation
2. Goods – which needed by human
3. Vehicles – as transport medium
4. Road – as transportation infrastructure
5. Organisation – as transport administrator (Sukarto, 2006)
Those transport issues originate from the unwell-planned urban spatial and also from population growth that is not spread evenly across the city. The demographic of the area has a significant influence on the ability of the transportation system to serve the needs of the community. Despite high population growth due to birth rate, degree of urbanization also plays a role in transportation system in urban areas. As matter of fact, Australia has 89% of total population in 2010 and its rate of urbanization is 1.2% annual rate of change within the period of 2010-2015 (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). Its deficient transport infrastructure inaugurates a major barrier to the country’s continuous development. Other factor is the high dependence on private vehicle by which people prefer to use their own vehicles to travel since the public transport system in some areas is still not well-integrated. Public transports are often of poor quality, very crowded, low maintenance and their cost is not reflecting an array of those variables. Indirect outlay, such as pollution, road accidents and maintenance of public road infrastructure should are be factored in (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2011).
Hence in purpose of making public transportation attractive and sustainable, the balance between service improvement, road user behavioural change and its infrastructure shall be achieved. Sustainable transport is not just about encouraging people to walk, cycle and to use public transport. It is about designing the transport system to make economic, social and environmental sense. The Brundtland (1987) Report defined sustainable development as “process of change in which the exploitation of resource, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development; and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations”.
A sustainable transport system should:
• Meet the needs of present without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs, in terms of social economic sector
• Locally and globally protect the environment in both short and long term
• Provide and promote lower carbon transport options
• Support improved health and safety (State Government of Victoria, Australia, 2013)

Urban Transport in Developing Countries

Role of transportation for economic endurance of a region is very valuable. An integrated system: efficient, less costly and helping the country’s economic development. Transport condition of a country is usually proportional to progress in development of the country itself. Developed countries like the United States, European, and Japan have a good transportation system. Contrary, for developing countries such as Indonesia and India, the management of the transport system is poorly manageable even though other countries such Australia and Singapore have already satisfactorily manage their transportation.
Generally the problems that exist on the transport system in Indonesia are the high cost of transportation, delay in delivery of goods, the number of illegal levies, the old bureaucratic an convoluted logistics and inadequate infrastructure which leads to one major issue – congestion (Ali, 2012). Most of Indonesian people, especially in Jakarta, spent most of their time on the road due to relentless traffic congestion moreover during the peak hours. They can spend one or more hours just for a distance of 5km (Figure 1). Moreover, air pollution in Indonesia is proven considerably high which is a health threat for motorist and pedestrians that can lead to respiratory distress and decreased air quality. Pollution can be caused by the poor quality of public means of transport used in the region. Incomplete fuel combustion process will cause into deep black gas waste, especially on old vehicles. There needs to be an emission test for vehicles that are not up to standard. Plus there is a pattern of road network in Jakarta generally concentric linear since there is concentration of the connection between the city then spread linearly into the main roads linking the regions between functional areas and the number of major roads that connect between the region.

Figure 1 - Traffic Congestion in Jakarta, Indonesia
(Source :

TransJakarta, as one means of public transport have been implemented in Indonesia (inspired by TransMilenio, Bogota, Colombia) which can be advantages and disadvantages, is one of government efforts to reduce people’s dependence on private vehicles. In addition, its environmentally friendly fuel also helps reduce the effects of air pollution. While preceding the construction of TransJakarta, it requires additional area for its own track which less effective in reducing the congestion problem in Jakarta because even narrow road capacity. This issue can be anticipated with the policy of the government to increase public awareness to utilize the TransJakarta facilities therefore significant reduction of private vehicles can be accomplished. With the existence of this policy then surely it must be accompanied by improving quality, quantity and service of TransJakarta. For example, by making modes of TransJakarta more frequent in order to address the increasing number of passengers so that people do not have too long to wait. In terms of quality, it can be improved by reconstruct TransJakarta terminal and the dismissal information system so that people can feel comfortable and efficient in use (Widastuti, Winanti, & Indor, 2011).
Besides TransJakarta, public transports widely used in Indonesia are bajaj and angkot (Figure 2). Bajaj is a three-wheel vehicle which during operation often creates noise and air pollution due to incomplete combustion. Whilst angkot is regular four-wheel vehicle that have trajectory on certain route is still have not meet passenger satisfaction. This is result from the drivers who are inconsequential and neglecting the comfort and safety of the passengers, they still also allowing passenger to squeeze in when it is already full. Moreover, the presence of angkot is considered detrimental to other road users due to the driver’s habit who like to stop abruptly without light sign thus endangering another behind it.

Figure 2 - Bajaj and Angkot, another public transport in Indonesia

Among the developing country that have poor quality transportation system, Australia and Singapore have already implemented satisfying integrated transportation system. However, Australia has the second highest levels of private vehicles ownerships in the world. It also has the third highest fuel consumption per capita rate in the world (CSIRO, 2012). Within the last 10 to 12 years, majority cities in Australia have developed strategic report which aims for increased mode share of sustainable transport system. For example, Perth have been doubled the size of their rail system by constructing the southern suburbs railway, Brisbane with number of busway, road extension and inner city bypass tunnel project, and also Sydney which recently opened an inner city bypass tunnel (Richardson, 2012).
In Australian region, Brisbane presents an example of well-planed transportation system though the fact that their population has grown by 2% annually, have highest level of car ownership, have increased by approximately 9% (2002 to 2003) and also increased in motor vehicle purchases by 4.1% throughout Australia in 2007 (Brisbane City Council, 2008-2026). Brisbane City Council engaged one of the biggest bus fleets in Australia, along with CityCat and CityFerry network, as well as Council Cab, intra-city train network (authorized by Queensland government) and CityCycle bike. Due to the geographic of Brisbane where the north and south side region are separated by Brisbane River, public transport such as CityCat and CityFerry are needed to ease civilian to travel across the river. Recently, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced minor timetable and route changes to Brisbane ferry network in order to deliver an efficient and more economically sustainable network (MacDonald, 2013); Brisbane City Council (BCC) has cut down midnight services due to a few passenger travel during this time period, it will also change to become two to five less frequent during non-peak hour as well as 12 minutes addition to time travel from upstream to downstream due to go slow, thus will increased the operation time in total for CityCat result in dispensed during midnight service. Another purpose of having these changes, as the Lord Mayor said, to save $2million in regards of effectively planning for new ferry terminal that will be built at Milton in early 2014 (MacDonald, 2013).
BCC bus services including BUZ, free city loop buses, CityGlider and City Sight bus tours. A BUZ (Bus Upgrade Zone) service is a network of ‘no timetable needed’ high frequency bus services. It operates every 10 minutes during peak hour and every 15 minutes during non-peak hour daily. City Glider buses offer pre-paid ticketing to reduce queuing time, it operates 24-hour service on Friday and Saturday and 18-hour service from Sunday to Thursday and it also links to CityCycle bike hire station which has been provided near CityGlider stops (Brisbane City Council, 2013). A free public transport service has been implemented by BCC to encourage people use public transport, this includes free city loop buses which operate clockwise and anti-clockwise direction around Brisbane CBD as well as Spring Hill areas and CityHopper which operates in the Brisbane River every 30 minutes. Brisbane bus network has been and or being expanded over the time and being preferred option by most of people in Brisbane, because of its well-integrated system shorten travel time since its tracks are separated from regular vehicles road in some destination (Figure 3).

Figure 3 - Bus way Brisbane

Another country that should be learn from their well-organized transport system is Singapore. Singapore has a systematic performance evaluation system where each policy objective is clearly categorized into performance indicators and measurable target. Adapted from Dhingra Report (2011), their systematic performance evaluation described as follows

Sustainable Public Transport System
• Quality management of Public Transport
o Improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gases
o Improving urban design
o Facilitating economic growth
o Increasing accessibility
o Protecting environmental health
o Greneer travel
• co-ordinated land use and transport systems
• moderated travel demand growth
• attractive non-motorised transport
• a safe and efficient road system
• efficient freight and air transport operations to support economic development
• an integrated, socially just and environmentally responsible transport system