University of Twente Student Theses


Improving the implementation of nature-based solutions: principles, challenges and enablers

Elattar, Hoda (2020) Improving the implementation of nature-based solutions: principles, challenges and enablers.

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Abstract:Traditional engineering solutions involving the use of hard materials such as concrete are to thank for the safety and comfort of humans. However, they have been linked with increasing climate change impacts. To combat the problems caused by those traditional solutions, the concept of nature-based solutions (NBS) was introduced and established through principles and guidelines. In the Netherlands, where issues of flood safety and coastal erosion are of utmost importance, the Dutch authorities implement NBS projects for flood defense. One example of such NBS is called “sandy solutions”, which include sand nourishment or sandy foreshores among others. The practical application of the principles, the challenges faced and the enablers that supported the implementation in sandy solutions in the Netherlands is still poorly covered in literature. This thesis focuses on two projects that implement sandy solutions: the reinforcement of the Houtrib Dike and the Sand Motor. The two projects were examined by collecting empirical data from interviews with experts involved and from project reports. A three-part framework was created to analyze the collected data. The first part was related to the application of selected NBS principles in practice; the second was related to the challenges faced and how they were overcome; and the third was related to the enablers that supported the implementation of the projects. The data was analyzed and, in combination with the evidence from the scientific literature, they served to draw up recommendations to improve the implementation of NBS for flood defense in the Netherlands. Several recommendations are provided improve the application of the principles of integration of all relevant knowledge, public participation, stakeholder engagement, and recognition and minimization of tradeoffs. Additionally, the challenges faced in the projects were found to result from the uncertainties associated with the dynamic nature of NBS. Employing decision-making under uncertainty and adaptive management was found to support informed decision-making, accommodate uncertainties in planning and facilitate mitigating their consequences. Finally, governmental support was identified as the main enabler, and it was determined that NBS implementation would be improved if that support was increased through governments prioritizing NBS projects over traditional solutions.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:43 environmental science
Programme:Environmental and Energy Management MSc (69319)
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