The Delft University of Technology will start a new open source internet course on Building with Nature in February 2016.
Building with Nature is a new design concept in hydraulic engineering that incorporates natural elements in its design, such as wind, currents, flora and fauna.
The massive open online course (MOOC) on Building with Nature lasts 5 weeks.
The Dutch water authorities are very keen on this concept and use it where ever possible as it is an ideal solution for climate adaptation.
A nature-based flood defense structure is very flexible and will adapt to the changing hydraulic circumstances automatically, which is not the case for a hard construction.
One of the best examples of the concept is the Sand Engine that introduced a new type of beach nourishment to counter erosion.
Instead of enforcing the beach section by section, an artificial peninsula was created off the Dutch coast in 2011 with 21.5 million cubic meters.
The sand is now gradually redistributed by natural processes, such as tide, currents, waves and winds, over the shoreface, beach and dunes.
By making use of natural processes to redistribute the sand, the Sand Engine limits the disturbance of local ecosystems, while also providing new areas for nature and more types of recreation.
New generation of engineers and ecologists
During the course, a range of case studies will be presented to deepen the knowledge of ecological and engineering principles.
Leading Dutch engineers and environmental scientists will show how the Building with Nature integrated design approach is fundamental to a new generation of engineers and ecologists.
Instructors are Marcel Stive, chair of Coastal Engineering at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, and Jill Slinger, associate professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering.