Earth & Environment


Building With Nature MOOC

Ecosystems in deltas and coastal areas are of great importance for nature, economy and well-being. Climate change increases the pressure on these areas even more. How can we deal with subsidence, rising sea levels, higher river discharges and depletion of groundwater resources ? And how do we cope with heat stress, drought and salinization? Building with nature is a concept that provides an answer to these questions. Learn more and follow the MOOC on BwN for free, starting February 29.

In this BwN-concept of natural processes such as wind, current, development of flora and fauna part of the hydraulic design. This creates flexible and sustainable solutions, where nature, recreation and the local community and economy benefit.


During the course, a number of case studies will be discussed to deepen the knowledge of ecological and engineering principles. Leading Dutch engineers and environmental scientists will explain the Building with Nature integrated design approach and why it is fundamental to a new generation of engineers and ecologists.

Sand Motor

One example of the concept is the Sand Motor that introduced a new type of beach nourishment to counter erosion. Instead of nourishing the beach section by section, an artificial peninsula was created off the Dutch coast in 2011 using 21.5 million cubic meters sand. 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 Motor limits the disturbance to local ecosystems, while also providing new areas for nature and more types of recreation.


Amongst others, Marcel Stive, chair of Coastal Engineering at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, and Jill Slinger, associate professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering are instructors for this course. Ecoshape contributes to the course as well the work of Deltares-expert Bregje van Wesenbeeck is being used.
This is a MOOC within the prestigious EDX-platform, one of the most leading online educational platforms in the world, founded by MIT among others.

The course lasts 5 weeks and starts February 29, 2016. The estimated effort per week is 3-5 hours

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