Frame of Reference for specialist and end-user interaction

Practical Applications

Detailing Building with Nature designs

One of the main challenges in BwN is developing effective adaptive management strategies that successfully achieve a number of predetermined objectives. The BwN Adaptive Management Guideline provides methodologies to structure this cycle and to get the process started. The approach proposed is structured around the principles of the Frame of Reference method. Once one or more conceptual Eco-dynamic designs have been generated, they need to be further detailed to assess their practical feasibility and economic viability. From the conceptual design one or more building solutions are selected for further detailing. Once objectives have been established, analysis of the natural setting should reveal boundary conditions and functional requirements for the design. Application of those requirements in the natural setting yields the dimensions of a final design. Comparison of the final design with the original objectives and the overall conceptual design will indicate whether further iteration is needed.

Developing adaptive management strategies

Monitoring the ecosystem response to engineering works has become an important part of any large-scale development. It enables an adaptive approach, optimizing monitoring efforts and operational management at the same time: the execution of engineering work or the operation of the resulting infrastructure can be adjusted ‘on the fly’ in order to reach environmental goals. Since adjustments should be based on effect monitoring, adaptive management involves a cycle of planning, monitoring and evaluation of results (cf. Deming’s (1986) cycle of Plan, Act, Evaluate & Adjust).

For more information please refer to the document Adaptive execution guidelines for low-impact dredging.

Lessons learned

The Frame of Reference was applied in various projects (CoastView, Kustlijnzorg, ConScience, MICORE, Building with Nature) by a large number of people from varying backgrounds (PhD candidates, Post-docs, Senior Researchers, Project Managers, Programme Directors, End Users of various kinds etc.). Based on practical experience gained providing guidance, a number of tips and tricks have been collected that are useful as a guideline for checking the quality of a Frame of Reference:

  • Check that each element is filled with the kind of information prescribed in the ‘basic’ Frame of Reference.
  • Check the logical coherence of objectives, indicators and interventions.
  • Take your time to define the reference state in the benchmarking step.
  • Take care in the evaluation step to reflect on the operational objective AND the strategic objective.

Besides above tips and tricks for checking the quality of a Frame of Reference, another important lesson learned could be extracted from the practical Frame of Reference applications. Generalising over a large number of Frames of Reference is may be observed that once a practical problem context has been defined a logical next step is to proceed with further detailing of the method. To prevent this quantification step to become a huge bottleneck in the end-user specialist interaction, the threshold to integrate data, models and tools into a given Frame of Reference should be kept as low as possible. The OpenEarth approach offers a radical new approach to handling data, models and tools (Van Koningsveld et al., 2010). It was developed partly as an extension of the Frame of Reference work. For more information please refer to the Geographical data and knowledge management – OpenEarth tool description.