Design & Testing # 1998 Gothenburg
Sustainable Development’ is a concept which is often used today, particularly when discussing necessary efforts for preventing persistent environmental problems. It came up as a result of the findings already by the Rome Club et al in the early 70s’, implying that the natural resources of the earth are limited and in some cases not renewable. However, although the concept has its great application in the search for finding environmentally feasible solutions, it must be recognized that "sustainable development” has a wider sense for creating conditions for all mankind’s survival.
The word “sustainable” has many synonyms in English as, for instance “durable”, "endurable”, "persistent’, solid”, etc. But to cover the actual use of “sustainable”, additional words have to be recognized with the sense that the development shall be durable but without any long-term negative effects for the society as a whole. Sustainable development can be looked on as a concept having this positive effect included. - And to reach a sustainable development it is necessary to introduce sustainable technologies and sustainable economy as well. Consequently, we have to add to the classical "safe design” concept also a "sustainable design” concept. Thus, so far engineers have always focused on protection of public safety as a goal for the design. However, we have now to try to integrate the sustainable design in the same way. This means, that the modern society expects no engineer to design a project that is unsustainable, like he today would never accept to design a project, which would be unsafe.