Overview Building with Nature program

Worldwide, low-lying delta areas are increasingly confronted with challenges associated with urbanisation, economic development, accelerated sea level rise, subsidence and climate change. At the same time, people increasingly realise that environmentally sustainable development is crucial to long-term survival. This demands an innovative approach, aligning the interests of economic development and care for the environment.

Thinking, acting and interacting differently

Building with Nature instead of Building in Nature is widely supported within the Dutch water sector and embraced by a number of government institutions in the field of infrastructure and ecosystem development. However, a different way of thinking, acting and interacting is required. 

Public-private innovation

The Building with Nature innovation program is committed to the integration of infrastructure, nature and society in new or alternative forms of engineering that meet the global need for intelligent and sustainable solutions. The program is carried out by EcoShape, a consortium of private parties, government organisations and research institutes. It involves disciplines from natural sciences, technology and social sciences to successfully operate in the continuum between nature, engineering and society.

Learning by doing

Via case studies and pilot projects Building with Nature connects with current problems in the Netherlands and abroad. Within each case, the research teams develop new knowledge about how to use the interaction between biotic and abiotic processes and how to get Building with Nature designs realized within existing administrative and legal frameworks. 

Scientific Research

In parallel with the cases and pilot projects, Building with Nature carries out scientific research. A number of relevant knowledge gaps are being addressed by NWO/STW granted projects. Each of these projects is coupled with at least one of the ongoing (pilot) projects to promote spin off to practice.

Design guidelines and knowledge center

A cornerstone of the Building with Nature approach involves detailed analyses of physical, ecological and social systems. The results of the cases, pilot projects and scientific research are translated to practice by people actively involved in hydraulic engineering and water and ecosystem management. Lessons learned are collected in the Building with Nature Design Guideline.

Build with Nature