Hierarchical decomposition and multidomain formulation for the design of complex sustainable systems

Anas Alfaris, Afreen Siddiqi, Charbel Rizk, Olivier De Weck, Davor Svetinovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Designing a large-scale complex system, such as a city of the future, with a focus on sustainability requires a systematic approach toward integrated design of all subsystems. Domains such as buildings, transportation, energy, and water are all coupled. Designing each one in isolation can lead to suboptimality where sustainability is achieved in one aspect but at the expense ofother aspects. Traditional ad hoc allocations of design parameter precedence and dependence cannot be used for cases where new (instead of only mature) architectures are to be explored. A methodology is introduced for addressing design problems ofcomplex sustainable systems that is comprised of, on the one hand, a hierarchical decomposition that includes multilevel abstraction and design parameter identification, and on the other hand, a multidomain formulation, which includes parameter dependency identification, design cycle identification and decision structuring, and scoping. The application of the methodology for the design ofa new urban development, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, with over 220 different form and behavior parameter sets is shown.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)910031-9100313
Number of pages8190283
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2010


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