If you're interested in the concept of building with nature, then this is the engineering course for you. This course explores the use of natural materials and ecological processes in achieving effective and sustainable hydraulic infrastructural designs. You will learn the Building with Nature ecosystem-based design concept and its applications in water and coastal systems. During the course, you will be presented with a range of case studies to deepen your knowledge of ecological and engineering principles.
You'll learn from leading Dutch engineers and environmental scientists who see the Building with Nature integrated design approach as fundamental to a new generation of engineers and ecologists.
Join us in exploring the interface between hydraulic engineering, nature and society.
Week 1: Introduction to Building with Nature.
Introduction to the Building with Nature concept and its importance through a number of dramatic examples. Identifying hydraulic engineering infrastructures, and exploring the diversity of standpoints on their ecological effects.
Week 2: Engineering design principles
The engineering design process is explained and the underlying principles are distilled. Students familiarize themselves with the material through classification exercises.
Week 3: Ecological design principles
The concept of designing in accordance with ecological principles is explained. Students identify different types of aquatic ecosystems and distill principles on the basis of ecosystem character and functioning.
Week 4: Integrated design
Students apply their new knowledge in assessing the potential for Building with Nature solutions in case studies, or in their locality. Trade-offs in applying engineering and ecological principles are explicated, and the opportunities for nature are clarified.
Week 5: Integrated design review
Critical evaluation of whether hydraulic infrastructure is fit for purpose in meeting engineering, ecological and societal goals by peer reviewing case studies from week 4. In particular, students assess the coherence between the infrastructure design and the ecosystem character and function.
Marcel Stive, Jill Slinger and Building with Nature - Course Contributors
Karen Huffman completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
I enjoyed this course. It was challenging for me as hydraulic engineering principles were new to me. I enjoyed the various learning techniques applied throughout the course and the templates provided for distilling ideas were extremely useful. I also think the peer review requirement for our final project helped me to better understand the combined engineering and ecological perspectives and balance my perspective.