Building with nature

Coastal protection remains a major challenge worldwide. Climate change and the potential consequences of sea level rise will require new and innovative solutions for coastal protection. Currently, new concepts and technologies focus on interacting with nature rather than building against nature. Coastal dunes are important ecosystems that can play a crucial role in coastal protection. At Ghent University, engineers, biologists and ecologists are working together to create resilient and more natural coastal protection.

By 2050, 80% of the world's population will live in low-lying urban areas. Not only does land and water use increase dramatically in these urbanised areas, flood risk and climate sensitivity are also significantly increased. Moreover, society increasingly demands safety, prosperity and sustainability. This leads to new challenges for infrastructural developments. Coasts need to be protected as sea levels rise. Rivers must be able to safely drain increasingly extreme floods while remaining a suitable waterway for more intensive transport. The capacity of ports and access channels needs to be increased. The quality of water bodies and subsoil needs to be guaranteed. Natural resources need to be used sustainably.

A paradigm shift from building in nature to building with nature is needed to ensure a sustainable future. This calls for innovative solutions in project development, hydraulic engineering and water system management. Building with nature aims to meet these challenges by using the opportunities offered by nature. An integrated approach and stakeholder involvement from the early stages of project development are essential features.

We provide knowledge and expertise on topics like:

  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Cartography & GIS for Risk Reduction
  • Fluid Dynamics and Fluid Mechanics
  • Hydraulical Structures
  • Coastal Engineering and Harbour Construction
  • Coastal Hydrodynamics
  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Port Technology
  • Geophysical Exploration
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Material Modelling
  • Concrete Structures

Discover the Marine@UGent Research Community