This publication offers an overview of the latest cross-disciplinary developments in the field of Building with Nature (BwN) for the protection of coastal regions. The key philosophy of BwN is the employment of natural processes to serve societal goals, such as flood safety. The starting point is a systems-based approach, making interventions that employ the shaping forces of the natural system to perform measures by self-regulation. Initial pilots of this innovative approach originate from coastal engineering, with the Sand Motor along the coast of South Holland as one of the prime examples. From here, the BwN approach has evolved into a new generation of nature-based hydraulic solutions, such as mangrove forests, coastal reefs, and green dikes.

BOOK DATA

Publisher TU Delft Open // Book Editors Janneke van Bergen, Steffen Nijhuis, Nikki Brand, Marcel Hertogh // Publication date February 2021 // Pages 296 // Full colour // ISBN 978-94-6366-379-3

Published: 2021-02-18

Editorial

  • Janneke van Bergen, Steffen Nijhuis, Nikki Brand, Marcel Hertogh

    This publication offers an overview of the latest cross-disciplinary developments in the field of Building with Nature (BwN) for the protection of coastal regions. The key philosophy of BwN is the employment of natural processes to serve societal goals, such as flood safety. The starting point is a systems-based approach, making interventions that employ the shaping forces of the natural system to perform measures by self-regulation. Initial pilots of this innovative approach originate from coastal engineering, with the Sand Motor along the coast of South Holland as one of the prime...

Articles

  • Many people associate Building with Nature with its flagship project, the Sand Motor. This mega-nourishment redefined the role of natural processes in civil engineering projects, demonstrating that instead of ‘do no harm’ as the highest possible supporting goal of coastal infrastructure, the design could incorporate natural processes to attain societal and ecological goals. As such, the Sand Motor represents a key example of the integrated design of civil infrastructures. In this contribution, we pursue an improved understanding of the integrated design of civil infrastructures, by...

  • Mindert de Vries, Mark van Koningsveld, Stefan Aarninkhof, Huib de Vriend

    Hydraulic engineering infrastructure is supposed to keep functioning for many years and is likely to interfere with both the natural and the social environment at various scales. Due to its long life-cycle, hydraulic infrastructure is bound to face changing environmental conditions as well as changes in societal views on acceptable solutions. This implies that sustainability and adaptability are/should be important attributes of the design, the development and operation of hydraulic engineering infrastructure. Sustainability and adaptability are central to the Building with Nature (BwN)...

  • Objectifying Building with Nature strategies Towards scale-resolving policies
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    Mindert de Vries, Mark van Koningsveld, Stefan Aarninkhof, Huib de Vriend

    By definition, Building with Nature solutions utilise services provided by the natural system and/or provide new opportunities to that system. As a consequence, such solutions are sensitive to the status of, and interact with the surrounding system. A thorough understanding of the ambient natural system is therefore necessary to meet the required specifications and to realise the potential interactions with that system. In order to be adopted beyond the pilot scale, the potential impact of multiple BwN solutions on the natural and societal systems of a region need to be established. This...

  • Building with Nature (BwN) infrastructure designs are characterised by disciplinary integration, non-linearity, diverse and fluid design requirements, and long-term time frames that balance the limitations of earth’s natural systems and the socio-technical systems created by humans. Differentiating roles in the engineering design process may offer strategies for better solutions. Four complementary engineering design roles were distinguished, namely: Specialists, System Integrators, Front-end Innovators, and Contextual Engineers. The key research question addressed in this paper asks,...

  • Janneke van Bergen, Jan Mulder, Steffen Nijhuis, Daan Poppema, Kathelijne Wijnberg, Mieke Kuschnerus

    Sandy shores worldwide suffer from coastal erosion due to a lack of sediment input and sea-level rise. In response, coastal sand nourishments are executed using ‘Building with Nature’ techniques (BwN), in which the sand balance is amplified and natural dynamics are instrumental in the redistribution of sand, cross- and alongshore. These nourishments contribute to the growth of beaches and dunes, serving various design objectives (such as flood safety, nature, and recreation). Nevertheless, human interference (such as buildings and traffic) along urbanized sandy shores may have...

  • Rene van der Velde, Michiel Pouderoijen, Janneke van Bergen, Inge Bobbink, Frits van Loon, Denise Piccinini, Daniel Jauslin

    The multi-dimensionality of BwN calls for the incorporation of ‘designerly ways of knowing and doing’ from other fields involved in this new trans-disciplinary approach. The transition out of a focus on rational design paradigms towards reflective design paradigms such as those employed in the spatial design disciplines may be a first step in this process. By extension, the knowledge base and design methodologies of BwN may be critically expanded by drawing on ways of knowing and doing in spatial design disciplines such as landscape architecture, which elaborates the agency of the term...

  • Now that people all around the world are slowly starting to rethink how humanity and the planet are interrelated, new questions have arisen around the understanding of time and the perception of place. It’s not merely a technical or a political challenge that we are facing, it is also a cultural one. The Sand Motor - as the first of its kind - uses the forces of the wind and waves as active agengies of change, but can it be valued as a driving force for humanity to change as well? Drawing from primary artistic research of the sea, coastal transitions, climate change and human...

  • Eugene Odum was an ecological pioneer, writing the discipline’s first textbook, Fundamentals of Ecology, in 1953. Although his work is almost 70 years old, it laid the groundwork for contemporary landscape systems thinking. Since Odum’s time, a lineage of ecological research and theory has helped to define concepts pertaining to ecology, ecosystems, and nature. With these terms in peril of becoming ambiguous, especially in the design arts, this chapter revisits the origins and development of ecologic thinking in order to construct a more critical understanding of nature, and the role of...

  • In a world where increased prosperity has created a number of novel, ecosystem-related threats to people’s health and the economy, designing with nature offers a promising outlook to mute the potential negative impacts of our actions and to keep improving the quality of life worldwide. It also provides an alternative to an attitude that has been largely negligent towards our non-human fellow beings. Drawing from the experience of DS landscape architects, four actualized projects and two student master theses illustrate the challenges, opportunities and benefits that building with nature...

  • A common measure to mitigate erosion along sandy beaches is the implementation of sand nourishments. The design and societal acceptance of such a soft mitigation measure demands information on the expected evolution at various time scales ranging from a storm event to multiple decades. Process-based morphodynamic models are increasingly applied to obtain detailed information on temporal behaviour. This paper discusses the process-based morphodynamic model applied to the Sand Motor and how the morphodynamic forecasts have benefitted from the findings of an interdisciplinary research...

  • Kathelijne Wijnberg, Daan Poppema, Jan Mulder, Janneke van Bergen, Geert Campmans, Filipe Galiforni-Silva, Suzanne Hulscher, Paran Pourteimouri

    The long-term physical existence of sandy shores critically depends on a balanced sediment budget. From the principles of Building with Nature it follows that a sustainable protection of sandy shores should employ some form of shore nourishment. In the spatial design process of urbanized sandy shores, where multiple functions must be integrated, the knowledge and the prediction of sediment dynamics and beach-dune morphology thus play an essential role. This expertise typically resides with coastal scientists who have condensed their knowledge in various types of morphological models that...

  • ‘Building with Nature’ solutions seem like a logical alternative to technical solutions. Working with nature instead of against it might save civil engineering costs. But will it also generate additional civil engineering benefits? Typical engineering benefits are related to flood prevention, transportation and sand mining. Both technical and natural solutions can produce these benefits. Natural solutions, however, may produce additional ecosystem benefits. These are rarely accounted for in investment decisions about engineering projects. This is not surprising as there are no rules...

Reflection

  • Janneke van Bergen, Steffen Nijhuis, Nikki Brand, Marcel Hertogh

    The incentive for this publication was to expand the realm of enquiry around the topic of Building with Nature (BwN), for two main reasons. First to gain an interdisciplinary, and therefore deeper, understanding of BwN as an object of study. Secondly, but no less important, is an understanding of how different forms of knowledge contribute to our learning regarding BwN. When we understand the contribution of several academic disciplines and knowledge from practice, we may eventually get to the point where we can identify how they can collaborate successfully to contribute to BwN as an...

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