About Building with Nature

Building with Nature (BwN) is a design philosophy in which natural processes deliver a number of benefits such as protection against flooding and coastal erosion, and opportunities for nature and recreation. Until now, there was a lack of information on the performance of these projects. BwN solutions were therefore hard to justify alongside or instead of more engineered/ hard solutions. This prevented policy makers and practitioners from including them in strategies, models and discussions on jointly funded solutions.

In the BwN project we learned by doing, this is being done by extensive monitoring and evaluation along several coastal and catchment living laboratories amongst the North Sea Region. This have increased our understanding about the functioning of BwN solutions under different environmental and socio-economic conditions which you can read all about under the case studies or view the interactive project map.  Although this project hence helped to increase the BwN evidence base, the uptake and mainstreaming in Europe remains relatively slow. Although the challenges for mainstreaming BwN solutions are different in every country, four overarching challenges that hamper mainstreaming of BwN  solutions have been identified: scientific evidence, local understanding, governance and institutional gap, and bankable business case. This challenges are further explained under challenges.

Aim of the project

The overall aim of the project is to make coasts, estuaries and catchments of the North Sea Region (NSR) more resilient to climate change by both applying and learning from the implementation of BwN measures.

The project’s approach

BwN-based solutions will be demonstrated at twelve coastal target sites in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden and at seven catchment scale sites in Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Scotland. The BwN project uses these so called living laboratories as examples for creating an evidence base for selecting sites, designing measures and calculating the costs, benefits and effectiveness of measures with the objective to ultimately generating business cases.

Project results

The project creates joint transnational monitoring programmes, uses state-of-the-art analysis methods and develops improved designs and business cases. The laboratories generate the evidence base which will enable BwN solutions to be incorporated into national policy and investment programmes of each of the NSR countries.

Facts & figures