Research ‘Land-shaping’

Ongoing research: Utilising natural forces in landscape design

Living Landscapes is developing site-specific interventions that interact with natural processes.
By analyzing larger landscapes systems, problems like food protection, drought mitigation, ecological decline or saline seepage are investigated. These will often be resolved by bringing in bulldozers and excavators, but what if small interventions can also do the job?

Date: September 2018 - ongoing
Project details: Design-by-nature design method

Flow experiments

These tests are the starting point of the research. They provided insight in which factors influence landscape formation and -in addition to literature research- helped to understand how site specific interventions can accelerate natural forces.

Flow experiment: obstacles versus wind direction and sedation

Young drifting dunes are created under a couple of specific circumstances, in different steps.

  1. At river banks sand is depositioned during floods. When a longer periods of dry weather and low tide follows, grains of sand will be taken by the wind.
  2. The development and shape of dune formation is affected by the prevailing wind direction.
  3. Drifting sand is collected behind small obstacles like patches of grass.
  4. When there is an abundant amount of sand and enough space for deposition, young dunes will start taking ‘walking’.

Flow experiment: obstacles versus meandering and direction of currents

Meandering streams are created under a couple of specific circumstances, in different steps.

  1. Necessary space for meander development consists out of 7 times the with of a river bed.
  2. Altering position of water inflow determines consistency in meandering.
  3. Erosion takes place in outer river bend, sedimentation takes place in inner river bend.
  4. Obstacles and hight differences in river bed determine water flow and sand bank formation.

Flow experiment: obstacles versus channels, plates and sedimentation

Tidal banks of high ecological value are created under a couple of specific circumstances, in different steps.

  1. The extent of connection tot the sea determents level of tidal fluctuations and deposition of sediment.
  2. During high velocities in deeper estuary channels, creeks are formed on flats.
  3. Locally increased flow rate -caused by obstruction- deepens shallow creeks.
  4. During low velocity sedimentation is deposited, forming sandy banks.

Delta Dialogues

Through a better understanding of natural dynamics we can have a better conversation on how the effects of climate change can be addressed. This can be done by large scale engineering projects, but -to a certain extend- also by a series of specific design interventions.

By precise interventions in natural systems we can accelerate landscape recovery processes. Nature and biodiversity will benefit from such a design-by-nature approach, because they can gradually adapt over time.

Keep an eye out for this work-in-progress research on this page and on instagram.

Toolbox of Land-Shapers
a series of designs for precise interventions in natural systems
icture by Hans Krüse