This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book offers a systematic treatment of the analysis of footings (shallow foundations) in a more realistic way by using constitutive relationships of the soil. It discusses the constitutive laws of soil and basic stress equations. The book then presents analysis pertaining to square and rectangular footings. It also discusses the effect of interference between adjacent footings. Shallow foundations are the common type of foundations designed for many important structures. In general, spread footings, combined footings and rafts or mat foundations are included under shallow foundations. In the design of shallow foundations, the estimation of bearing capacity, settlement and tilt is currently done in separate, independent steps. The bearing capacity of a centrally loaded footing is currently estimated by Terzaghi's theory or Meyerhof theory. These theories are applicable to homogeneous and isotropic soils.