Software Engineering for Sustainability: Find the Leverage Points!

B Penzenstadler, L Duboc, Colin Venters, S Betz, N Seyff, C Wnuk, R Chitchyan, S Easterbrook, C Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
346 Downloads (Pure)


We as software engineers are responsible for the long-term consequences of the systems we design - including impacts on the wider environmental and societal sustainability. However, field lacks analytical tools for understanding these potential impacts while designing a system, nor for identifying opportunities for how to use software to bring about broader societal transformations. In this article we explore how the concept of leverage points can be used to make sustainability issues more tangible in systems design. Using the example of software for transportation systems, we illustrate how leverage points can help software engineers map out and investigate the wider system in which the software resides, such that we can use software as an effective tool for engineering a more sustainable world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Software
Early online date11 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2018


  • sustainability
  • Software
  • Software Engineering
  • general
  • software engineering
  • human factors in software design

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