This article is quite long, so I have published it in pdf format and it can be downloaded here. A summary follows.
Many Professional Civil Engineers quickly learn that the technical and economic difficulties of implementing a project are often dwarfed by the social difficulties. Successful projects must not only be technically and economically viable, but also socially acceptable. But what is “social acceptability”, especially when some favour a project and others actively oppose it? This article addresses that question. It describes the application of Social Systems Theory to practical present-day problems to determine the social acceptability of potential solutions. Social Systems Theory combines the insights of systems science, with insights from the human sciences of psychology, sociology, political science, and economics, to form a single practical discipline. This discipline can be used to better understand why problems exist, or it can be used to understand what potential solutions are socially acceptable.
The application Social Systems Theory to the latter is described in the article. The methodology is described in very general terms and is widely applicable.