Building with Nature

“Facts About Building with Nature” describes an approach to planning and designing infrastructure that respects nature and uses natural forces proactively.

Building with Nature solutions focus on sustainable development and aimed to create designs in which project development and nature are fully integrated from the start. Traditionally an infrastructure project with economic and social advantages, like port development or flood defences, would be planned to have the least negative effects as possible and allow for compensation for any negatives. Building with Nature starts with the premise of the natural environment, of the services intrinsic to the ecosystem and how a project can utilise nature and these services to design the infrastructure project. Building with Nature comprises two main principles;
  • use natural forces as part of the engineering solution; and
  • provide extra opportunities for the further development of nature as part of the solution.

To accomplish this, engineers must understand the ecosystem, its services and value. To begin with, realistic alternative solutions that use these ecosystem services need to be identified. These alternatives need to be evaluated in terms of cost-benefit and feasibility, followed by the practical fine-tuning of the ideas. And finally, the implementation stage is reached where funding and risk analysis take place. The ongoing need for maritime infrastructure development is evident, be it for port expansion, waterfront development and/or remediation and flood control. Yet large-scale infrastructure projects are often met with scepticism resulting in uncertainties and delays, a keen awareness of environmental effects and extensive demands on environmental management and monitoring plans. By taking knowledge of both the ecological and societal systems as a starting point, Building with Nature creates an interdependent relationship between economic advancement and environmental preservation. It can offer clients, contractors and stakeholders a common ground for consultation and collaboration. The Building with Nature approach allows clients, stakeholders and the public to see and evaluate the pros and cons of a project in terms of economic improvements and environmental gains. “Facts About Building with Nature” answers essential questions such as:
  • What is Building with Nature (BwN)?
  • Why does Building with Nature offer a significant alternative and what are the advantages?
  • What are the origins of the concept and name Building with Nature?
  • How widespread is the Building with Nature concept?
  • What are the principles of Building with Nature?
  • How to apply Building with Nature principles?
  • When can the principles of Building with Nature be applied?
  • Is the Building with Nature approach applicable in all situations?
  • How can the principles of building with Nature be applied to coastal zone management?
  • How does the Building with Nature approach help with stakeholder involvement?
  • How is the Building with Nature approach further being developed?