Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

My top five reads in Civil Engineering

Guest posts

Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Engineering and the Built Environment
Course: BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering
Category: Engineering

8 June 2022

Profile photo of student Raissa Kanda standing against a brick wall.

In this blog, I am going to share with you a list of the top five books and articles I enjoyed reading throughout my degree in Civil Engineering.

1. Luo, H., Fan, R., Wang, H., Zhang, L., 2020. Physics of building vulnerability to debris flows, floods, and earth flows. Engineering Geology, 271, 105611

This is one of the articles that I read as I was preparing my dissertation, which was about the effects of climate change on structures. It concerns the topic of flooding and earth flows, and the impact these climatic variables can have on structures and buildings more particularly.

It sparked my attention since it had lots of visuals that could help me understand the topic and interpret the information that was shared in the article.

2. Cotgrave, A., Riley, M., 2012. Total Sustainability in the Built Environment (London: Bloomsbury)

This is a very interesting book that tackles the subject of climate change, and how we can achieve sustainability.

In the very first chapter of the book, the author states that sustainability cannot be achieved in one night, but that the responsibility should be handled by future engineers - in other words, us.

I enjoyed reading this section as it made me understand my role in society as a civil engineer: to deliver sustainable projects and ensure the safety of people and the environment.

3. Recycled aggregates articles

For one of my first researches in the field of construction, I read a series of articles on the topic of recycled aggregates. I got interested in knowing how engineers can build durable projects and protect the environment at the same time.

It was interesting to learn that some of the materials used in old structures could be reused to renew or build new ones, instead of being sent to the fill. This is a good practice in engineering, plus it also saves money since less material would need to be purchased for carrying out the work.

4. Green roofs reports

I explored the topic of green roofs during a group project about Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs) that can be implemented on ARU's Chelmsford campus. It was interesting to discover this new feature that I didn't know about, since I had never seen it in my home country or heard about it before the concept was introduced to me.

I learned that we don't need to make extra space for planting trees or having gardens, but we can use our empty roofs. I learned that green roofs help purify the atmosphere, reduce heat, and are great recreational spaces.

5. Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station reports

These were also readings I made as part of group work on environmental management. They were about assessing the efficiency and safety of a new nuclear power station that is being built in the UK.

I learned a lot and discovered the different strategies that engineers are putting in place to reduce the impact of human activity on the environment.

It is fascinating to learn new things, and reading is one of the best ways to acquire the knowledge we don't get in class. I always thought that Civil Engineering was about maths and structures only, but I was amazed at finding that there is so much more to discover. It is a broad course that involves different principles that work together to deliver safe and efficient structures.

You will notice that all my readings have one thing in common - sustainability and climate change. This is because it’s a topic that particularly interests me and that I’m looking forward to working on in my career.

Finally, I would like to encourage anyone reading this blog to seek what interests you about your course and feed your mind with that. In your interests, you may find your passion, and in your passion, you'll find your purpose and the personal touch that you'll bring to the world.

Raissa N. Kanda

Raissa studies at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about Civil Engineering, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.