ENCN375-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021

Sustainable Engineering for a Changing Climate

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


Engineering within planetary boundaries. Social, cultural, and economic factors. Risk and systems. Engineering ethics. Case studies of mitigation and adaptation options.

Solving a problem like climate change requires an approach that considers the entire system. Not only do we have to integrate the elements of civil and natural resources engineering that you have so far learned, but we must also look beyond engineering. As society’s engineers we have the responsibility to be leaders in our community on policy discussions involving the built environment, we must be managers of risk in the face of what feels like overwhelming uncertainty, we must be stewards of our environment, and to achieve these we must be the integrators of technology, ideas, and people if we are to find appropriate solutions. Because of our problem-solving skills and understanding of technology, engineers are an essential and leading partner in climate mitigation and adaptation.

Therefore, the aim of this course is to enable you to tackle system-wide challenges, such as climate change. Such problems cannot be solved in isolation. Ultimately, due to the dire situation our communities face, we aim to enable and empower you to actively consider climate change in every aspect of your professional career.

Learning Outcomes

As civil and natural resources engineers, you will:

● Understand complex systems problems: the complex, multi-directional relationships between climate change, communities, and the engineer’s role

● Formulate and critically evaluate interventions into complex systems: strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change

● Act as kaitiaki–stewards of the natural environment–and act and communicate ethically and legally, with respect to the diversity of interests and people affected by climate change

● Understand how to manage risk and uncertainty

● Continually learn, integrate ideas and perspectives, and adapt as an engineer in a changing environment.


ENCN201 (for basics of engineering writing)


Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Tom Logan


Rebecca Peer


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
climate adaptation briefing 10%
Climate mitigation briefing 10%
Network analysis 15%
Risk assessment analysis 10%
Risk assessment report 25%
Systems engineering report 25%
Quizzes 5%

There are three main mechanisms for assessment in this course: quizzes, individual coding, and individual writing. There is no final exam. In light of this, we have distributed the workload for assessment across the semester.

All assessments will be due on Fridays by 5 pm with the exception of the risk assessment report (due Thursday by 5 pm). Late submissions will receive a penalty of 10% per day. Extension requests can be made to Tom (term 3) or Rebecca (term 4) for extenuating circumstances.

5.1 Quizzes (5%)
This course requires you to learn independently using lecture videos and occasionally assigned readings. To ensure you are following the course content, there will be short quizzes on the material covered each week (with the exception of week 12). The quizzes will be open for two weeks (e.g., week 1 quiz will close for attempts at the end of week 3) and can be attempted as many times as you like within that time. At the end of the course, we will drop your lowest quiz grade.

5.2 Coding assignments (25%)
You will complete two coding assignments in this course. The first is a quantitative risk assessment and the second is a network analysis.

5.3 Writing assignments (70%)
This course focuses heavily on critical thinking and your ability to understand and communicate complex topics. As such, there are 4 total writing assignments for this course.

5.3.1 Briefings
You will complete two short (maximum two pages) briefing papers, where you must provide a succinct, but complete summary on a given issue.

5.3.2 Reports
You will complete two reports. The first is a 10-page report (that will be used by ENCN301) about Christchurch’s exposure to sea level rise under climate change using results from your first coding assignment. The second is a 5-page report that requires you to integrate what you’ve learned throughout the course to assess a proposed new urban development in downtown Christchurch.


The Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering recognises that its graduates need to be equipped with foundational knowledge of the major issues confronting global civilisation over the 21st century, among which climate change, population increase, economic and societal change. Further, students need to understand explicitly how their engineering skills translate into addressing these issues for the sustainability and betterment of their own careers and organisations they will work for, and for wider society. Sustainable Engineering for a Changing Climate will provide such a foundation and array of pathways for the Civil and Natural Resources Engineering Third Year cohort.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $986.00

International fee $5,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Limited Entry Course

Maximum enrolment is 245

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENCN375 Occurrences

  • ENCN375-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021