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'At the EcoShape conference in June, themed ‘Scaling up Building with Nature’, one of the proclaimed ambitions was to mainstream Building with Nature internationally. In line with this ambition, the regional offices of Boskalis and Van Oord initiated an investigation of the opportunities for the Building with Nature concept in Brazil’, says Mark Bruggeling. He is the environmental engineer that is appointed for this task by the two dredging firms. Although this initiative takes place outside the current EcoShape program, Mark will remain in close contact with the Building with Nature network in The Netherlands.

Before moving to Brazil, Mark discussed his plan at the EcoShape office in Dordrecht. ‘During the presentation we discussed that Brazil, like many other countries around the world, faces several hydraulic infrastructural challenges that could benefit from a Building with Nature approach. These challenges are related to population pressure and climate change effects in Brazil’s coastal and deltaic regions. The population pressure in these regions is substantial because the vast majority of the Brazilian population lives, works and spends its leisure time here. Moreover, this pressure is expected to increase in parallel with Brazil’s growing population’ says Mark. ‘At the same time, the detrimental effects of climate change like sea level rise, more severe storms, frequent floods and coastal erosion are intensifying. To face this combination of challenges, sustainable, resilient and multifunctional hydraulic infrastructure is required that benefits both nature, economy and society, which is in line with the Building with Nature approach’. Mark concludes.

To continue the investigation and see where it exactly is that Building with Nature could be of added value in Brazil, Mark -who earlier studied and worked in Brazil - will move there in October. ‘When living there, I can thoroughly understand the local Brazilian system. In line with the Building with Nature philosophy, this is a necessity and a starting point for the potential implementation of Building with Nature in Brazil’.

Mark will share his updates with us regularly. Stay tuned!