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Technical Guidelines ‘Building with Nature approach’

Published on:
  • Aquaculture, fisheries and coastal agriculture
  • Coastal resilience
  • Coastal wetland conservation
  • Integrated delta management

Building with Nature integrates Nature-based Solutions into water and marine engineering practice. To make nature the fundament of the solution, a paradigm shift is needed in in all aspects of project development. One of the main barriers to mainstream adoption is unfamiliarity with the Building with Nature approach. This guideline aims to help users to understand how to apply the  approach and to choose and implement the best Building with Nature solution for their challenge.

In this guideline, the Building with Nature design and implementation process is illustrated with insights from our successful coastal protection and aquaculture practices in an Indonesian coastal district. In Indonesia, work alongside a multi-disciplinary consortium enhanced the resilience
of both the mangrove greenbelt and the local economy. This multi-faceted approach brought together local expertise, employed some traditional skills and materials alongside advanced engineering solutions to restore coastal integrity, and has been described as innovative.

We learnt that Building with Nature principles produced a solution tailor-made for the
situation, and added considerable value throughout all stages of the project: from design through to implementation and maintenance. We argue that the methodology is very suitable across Indonesia and Asia.

The intention is to inform the development of government guidelines, the organisation of tenders and the design and implementation of water infrastructure projects. It is dedicated to the wide range of professionals and stakeholders involved, including national and local government, port authorities, project developers, consultants, designers and contractors, scientists and educators, NGOs and civil society. In addition, the guideline can be used by the international community working on Nature-based Solutions for water infrastructure.

This guideline is largely based on the Building with Nature guideline by EcoShape, which is itself the product of knowledge and experience gained in multiple Building with Nature projects implemented between 2008 and 2020.


Wilms, T., Van der Goot, F., Tonneijck, F., Nurhabni, F., Sembiring, L. (2020). Building with Nature Approach. Building with Nature to restore eroding tropical muddy coasts. Ecoshape technical report, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.


This guideline is part 1 of a series of Technical Guidelines on technical and socio-economic Building with Nature measures that, in combination, help to restore eroding tropical muddy coasts. These guidelines are based on insights and lessons learnt during the implementation of a district scale pilot in Central Java as part of the Building with Nature Indonesia programme. By sharing our lessons learnt in these practical guidelines, we aim to enable replication by government agencies, the water and aquaculture sector and NGOs.

Available Guidelines:
#1 Building With Nature Approach
#2 Systems Understanding
#3 Permeable Structures
#4 Associated Mangrove Aquaculture Farms
#5 Sustainable Aquaculture Through Coastal Field Schools

More information about Building with Nature Indonesia:

Technical Guidelines #1 'Building with Nature approach'