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Open AccessArticle

Coastal Engineers Embrace Nature: Characterizing the Metamorphosis in Hydraulic Engineering in Terms of Four Continua

1
Faculty of Technology Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands
2
Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University, Artillery Road, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
3
Deltares, Boussinesqweg 1, 2629 HV Delft, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(9), 2504; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092504
Received: 30 May 2020 / Revised: 18 July 2020 / Accepted: 3 September 2020 / Published: 8 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Coastal Engineering and Management)
Hydraulic engineering infrastructures, such as reservoirs, dikes, breakwaters, and inlet closures, have significantly impacted ecosystem functioning over the last two centuries. Currently, nature-based solutions are receiving increasing attention in hydraulic engineering projects and research programs. However, there is a lack of reflection on the concomitant, fundamental changes occurring in the field of hydraulic engineering, and coastal engineering in particular, and what this could mean for sustainability. In this article, we signal the shift from conventional to ecosystem-based hydraulic engineering design and characterize this in terms of four continua: (i) the degree of inclusion of ecological knowledge, (ii) the extent to which the full infrastructural lifecycle is addressed, (iii) the complexity of the actor arena taken into account, and (iv) the resulting form of the infrastructural artefact. We support our arguments with two carefully selected, iconic examples from the Netherlands and indicate how the stretching ideals of ecosystem-based engineering could engender further shifts towards sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem-based design; Building with Nature; nature-based solutions; infrastructure lifecycle; coastal and river engineering; impacts on nature and society; multi-actor systems; multifunctional flood defense; critical reflection ecosystem-based design; Building with Nature; nature-based solutions; infrastructure lifecycle; coastal and river engineering; impacts on nature and society; multi-actor systems; multifunctional flood defense; critical reflection
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MDPI and ACS Style

Slinger, J.H.; Vreugdenhil, H.S.I. Coastal Engineers Embrace Nature: Characterizing the Metamorphosis in Hydraulic Engineering in Terms of Four Continua. Water 2020, 12, 2504. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092504

AMA Style

Slinger JH, Vreugdenhil HSI. Coastal Engineers Embrace Nature: Characterizing the Metamorphosis in Hydraulic Engineering in Terms of Four Continua. Water. 2020; 12(9):2504. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092504

Chicago/Turabian Style

Slinger, Jill H.; Vreugdenhil, Heleen S.I. 2020. "Coastal Engineers Embrace Nature: Characterizing the Metamorphosis in Hydraulic Engineering in Terms of Four Continua" Water 12, no. 9: 2504. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092504

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