Building with Nature | Marine@Ugent

Building with Nature

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

By 2050 80% of the world's population will live in lowland urban areas. Not only do land and water use in these urbanizing areas intensify dramatically, also flood risk and climate sensitivity are significantly enhanced. Moreover, society increasingly demands safety, prosperity and sustainability. This leads to new challenges for infrastructure developments. Coasts need to be protected while sea level rises. Rivers need to provide for safe conveyance of ever more extreme floods while remaining a suitable fairway for an intensifying transport. The capacity of harbours 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 necessary 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 taking advantage of the opportunities offered by nature. An integrated approach and stakeholder involvement from the early stages of project development onwards 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


©picture: Sara Vandamme