Beach-dune modelling in support of Building with Nature
Beach-dune modelling in support of Building with Nature for an integrated spatial design of urbanized sandy shores





beach-dune modelling, urbanized shore, coastal spatial design, building with nature, wind-driven sediment dynamics


The long-term physical existence of sandy shores critically depends on a balanced sediment budget. From the principles of Building with Nature it follows that a sustainable protection of sandy shores should employ some form of shore nourishment. In the spatial design process of urbanized sandy shores, where multiple functions must be integrated, the knowledge and the prediction of sediment dynamics and beach-dune morphology thus play an essential role. This expertise typically resides with coastal scientists who have condensed their knowledge in various types of morphological models that serve different purposes and rely on different assumptions, thus have their specific strengths and limitations. This paper identifies morphological information needs for the integrated spatial design of urbanized sandy shores using BwN principles, outlines capabilities of different types of morphological models to support this and identifies current gaps between the two. A clear mismatch arises from the absence of buildings and accompanying human activities in current numerical models simulating morphological developments in beach-dune environments.

How to Cite

Wijnberg, K., Poppema, D., Mulder, J., van Bergen, J., Campmans, G., Galiforni-Silva, F., Hulscher, S., & Pourteimouri, P. (2021). Beach-dune modelling in support of Building with Nature for an integrated spatial design of urbanized sandy shores. Research in Urbanism Series, 7, 241–260.



Author Biographies

Kathelijne Wijnberg, University of Twente

Prof dr Kathelijne Wijnberg has a background in coastal geomorphology (PhD in 1995, Utrecht University). Through positions held at Oregon State University, Delft Hydraulics and University of Twente, she developed a keen interest in problems at the interface of coastal systems understanding and societal needs. Since 2018 she holds a chair in Coastal Systems and Nature-Based Engineering.

Daan Poppema, University of Twente

Daan Poppema is a PhD Candidate at the University of Twente, examining how buildings at the beach-dune interface affect the morphology of the beach-dune system. In his work he combines field work and computer modelling. He has a background in civil engineering, with a master in Water Engineering and Management from the University of Twente.

Jan Mulder, University of Twente

Jan P. M. Mulder graduated in Physical Geography and did a PhD in Forest Hydrology. After working as hydrologist at TNO for two years, since 1986 he has been active in the field of Coastal Morphology and - Management. Initially at Rijkswaterstaat, from 2008 at Deltares and after retirement in 2013, as a private consultant. In the framework of the Netherlands Centre of Coastal Research-NCK, he has been a guest researcher at Twente University since 2004 until today.

Janneke van Bergen, Delft University of Technology

Janneke van Bergen is a landscape architect and PhD researcher at the TU Delft. Over the past decade she worked in the field of water and infrastructure, including Room for the River, the National Coastal Delta Program and Studio Coastal Quality. She currently works for the ShoreScape research, funded by NWO, to investigate Building with Nature and coastal design.

Geert Campmans, University of Twente

Geert has always been fascinated by physics, particularly fluid dynamics. During his PhD he modeled tidal sand waves that are formed due to tidal currents and the interaction with the sandy seabed. Currently he moved focus from offshore to onshore to investigate sediment movement by wind on the beach and in the dunes as assistant professor at University of Twente.

Filipe Galiforni-Silva, University of Twente

Filipe Galiforni Silva, PhD, is a Brazilian oceanographer who has been studying coastal dynamics since 2010. Filipe completed his PhD in 2019 at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, where he studied the dynamics of beach-dune systems near inlets. His research interests lie in the area of coastal modelling, beach-dune dynamics and coastal oceanography.

Suzanne Hulscher, University of Twente

Prof dr Suzanne J.M.H. Hulscher optained her PhD in 1996 at Utrecht University on the topic modelling of bed patterns in coastal seas. From 2002 Hulscher holds the chair Marine and Fluvial Systems, University of Twente. She investigates physical processes in rivers and coastal seas. Hulscher became Simon Stevin master (2016), highest award in the technical sciences. From 2017 Hulscher is member of the KNAW (Dutch academy of sciences).

Paran Pourteimouri, University of Twente

Paran Pourteimouri is doing a PhD in Water Engineering and Management at University of Twente. In her project, she is studying the impacts of buildings at the beach-dune interface on airflow patterns and aeolian sediment transport, using computational fluid dynamics. She is interested in buildings’ characteristics such as dimension, geometry, elevation, orientation and their positioning on the beach.


Berends, K. D., Scheel, F., Warmink, J. J., de Boer, W. P., Ranasinghe, R., & Hulscher, S. J. M. H. (2019). Towards efficient uncertainty quantification with high-resolution morphodynamic models: A multifidelity approach applied to channel sedimentation. Coastal Engineering, 152, 103520.

Boers, M., Van Geer, P., & Van Gent, M. (2011). Dike and dune revetment impact on dune erosion. In: M. Mizuguchi & S.Sato (Eds.), The Proceedings of Coastal Sediments 2011, 810-823. doi: 10.1142/9789814355537_0061

Boeschoten, J. C. (1961, January). Stuifdijken op Terschelling en Vlieland (No. 330267). Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, Rijkswaterstaat, Directie Friesland (RWS, FR).

Fackrell, J. E. (1984). Parameters characterising dispersion in the near wake of buildings. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 16(1), 97–118.

Fonstad, M. A. (2013). 2.9 Cellular Automata in Geomorphology. In J. F. Shroder (Ed.), Treatise on Geomorphology (pp. 117–134). Academic Press.

Galiforni Silva, F., Wijnberg, K. M., de Groot, A. V., & Hulscher, S. J. M. H. (2019). The effects of beach width variability on coastal dune development at decadal scales. Geomorphology, 329, 58–69.

Galiforni-Silva, F., Wijnberg, K. M., de Groot, A. V., & Hulscher, S. J. M. H. (2018). The influence of groundwater depth on coastal dune development at sand flats close to inlets. Ocean Dynamics, 68(7), 885–897.

Hallin, C. (2019). Long-term beach and dune evolution: Development and application of the CS-model (Doctoral dissertation, Lund University).

Jackson, N. L., & Nordstrom, K. F. (2011). Aeolian sediment transport and landforms in managed coastal systems: A review. Aeolian Research, 3(2), 181–196.

Keijsers, J. G. S., De Groot, A. V., & Riksen, M. J. P. M. (2016). Modeling the biogeomorphic evolution of coastal dunes in response to climate change. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 121(6), 1161–1181.

Lazarus, E. D., Ellis, M. A., Brad Murray, A., & Hall, D. M. (2016). An evolving research agenda for human–coastal systems. Geomorphology, 256, 81–90.

Liu, M., Zhang, Q., Fan, F., & Shen, S. (2018). Experiments on natural snow distribution around simplified building models based on open air snow-wind combined experimental facility. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 173, 1–13.

Martinuzzi, R., & Tropea, C. (1993). The Flow Around Surface-Mounted, Prismatic Obstacles Placed in a Fully Developed Channel Flow (Data Bank Contribution). Journal of Fluids Engineering, 115(1), 85–92.

Muller, J., Figlus, J., & de Vries, S. (2018). Xbeach Simulation of Hybrid Coastal Protection: A Galveston Seawall Test Case. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(36), papers.100.

Ozmen, Y., Baydar, E., & van Beeck, J. P. A. J. (2016). Wind flow over the low-rise building models with gabled roofs having different pitch angles. Building and Environment, 95, 63–74.

Poppema, D. W., Wijnberg, K. M., Mulder, J. P., & Hulscher, S. J. (2019, May). Scale experiments on aeolian deposition and erosion patterns created by buildings on the beach. In P. Wang, J. D. Rosati, & M. Vallee (Eds.), Coastal Sediments 2019: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference (pp. 1693–1707). World Scientific.

Psuty, N. P. (2008). The Coastal Foredune: A Morphological Basis for Regional Coastal Dune Development. In M. L. Martínez & N. P. Psuty (Eds.), Coastal Dunes. Ecological Studies (Vol. 171, pp. 11–27). Springer.

Roelvink, D., & Costas, S. (2019). Coupling nearshore and aeolian processes: XBeach and duna process-based models. Environmental Modelling & Software, 115, 98–112.

Smallegan, S. M., Irish, J. L., Van Dongeren, A. R., & Den Bieman, J. P. (2016). Morphological response of a sandy barrier island with a buried seawall during Hurricane Sandy. Coastal Engineering, 110, 102–110.

Van Bergen, J., Mulder, J., Poppema, D, Nijhuis, S., Wijnberg, K. & Kuschnerus, M. (2021). Urban dunes: towards design principles for dune formation at urbanized shores. Research in Urbanism Series, 7, 101-128.

Van Onselen, E. P. (2018). Analysing measures to improve beach-dune interaction in the presence of man-made structures using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Report Internship at Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier. University of Utrecht.

Visser, P. J., Vrijling, J. K., & Verhagen, H. J. (1991). A field experiment on breach growth in sand-dikes. In B.L. Edge (Ed.), Coastal Engineering 1990 (pp. 2087-2100).

Vuik, V., van Vuren, S., Borsje, B. W., van Wesenbeeck, B. K., & Jonkman, S. N. (2018). Assessing safety of nature-based flood defenses: Dealing with extremes and uncertainties. Coastal Engineering, 139, 47–64.

Wiggs, G. F. S., Livingstone, I., & Warren, A. (1996). The role of streamline curvature in sand dune dynamics: evidence from field and wind tunnel measurements. Geomorphology, 17(1–3), 29–46.

Zandmotor. (2017, July 9). Juli 2017 Zandmotor vanuit noord [Photograph]. Flickr.