Natural Hazards

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 1461–1480 | Cite as

Building with Nature: in search of resilient storm surge protection strategies

  • E. van Slobbe
  • H. J. de Vriend
  • S. Aarninkhof
  • K. Lulofs
  • M. de Vries
  • P. Dircke
Original Paper


Low-lying, densely populated coastal areas worldwide are under threat, requiring coastal managers to develop new strategies to cope with land subsidence, sea-level rise and the increasing risk of storm-surge-induced floods. Traditional engineering approaches optimizing for safety are often suboptimal with respect to other functions and are neither resilient nor sustainable. Densely populated deltas in particular need more resilient solutions that are robust, sustainable, adaptable, multifunctional and yet economically feasible. Innovative concepts such as ‘Building with Nature’ provide a basis for coastal protection strategies that are able to follow gradual changes in climate and other environmental conditions, while maintaining flood safety, ecological values and socio-economic functions. This paper presents a conceptual framework for Building with Nature that is used to evaluate coastal protection strategies, based on a case study of the Holland coast in the Netherlands. The added value and the limitations of these strategies are discussed.


Storm surge protection Coastal maintenance Building with Nature Ecosystem services Adaptive management Sea-level rise 



The authors are grateful for the valuable comments and suggestions made by the anonymous reviewers and the editor of this special issue. The Delfland Sand Engine case study presented in this paper has been developed as part of the innovation programme Building with Nature, which runs from 2008 to the end of 2012. It is funded from various sources, including the Subsidieregeling Innovatieketen Water (SIW), funded partly by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, and partly by contributions from members of the EcoShape consortium. The programme receives co-funding from the European Fund for Regional Development and the Municipality of Dordrecht.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. van Slobbe
    • 1
  • H. J. de Vriend
    • 2
  • S. Aarninkhof
    • 3
  • K. Lulofs
    • 4
  • M. de Vries
    • 5
  • P. Dircke
    • 6
  1. 1.Alterra, Wageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.EcoShape Foundation/Deltares/Delft University of TechnologyDordrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.EcoShape Foundation/Royal BoskalisDordrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.School of Management and GovernanceUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Deltares/University of Applied Sciences, Hogeschool ZeelandDelftThe Netherlands
  6. 6.ARCADIS Nederland/Rotterdam University of Applied SciencesRotterdamThe Netherlands

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