The jury was impressed by the simplicity yet powerful intervention with global relevance. The reinforcement of the mangrove biotope and its function as natural shelter has a multiple positive impact in regard of sustainability. The project postulates an approach that aids in securing communities on the coastal fringe, creating natural beauty to coastal zones, and developing habitats. The proposed structure is low in cost and is of great financial advantage in comparison with the costs for damages it may prevent.
First prize was awarded to Keith Van de Riet of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) based in Troy, NY for a strategy to strengthen mangrove forests along coastlines to reinforce the natural protection of the coastal communities against the threat of tsunamis.Read full media release – Holcim Awards 2011 for North America » pour en savoir plus : Les lauréats des Holcim Awards de la région de l’Amérique du Nord sont annoncés à Washington D.C. (French) »
This project addresses a strategy to strengthen mangrove forests along coastlines to reinforce the natural protection of the coastal communities against the threat of tsunamis. This issue with global relevance is taken up with Miami as a case study. The project shows the high capacity of the plant structure to break down the wave’s energy in comparison to vertical walls. To help the re-establishment of mangrove forests and to upgrade the defensive strength of the trees an approach using biomimicry is proposed, copying the structure of the mangroves’ roots.
The Reinforced Mangrove Protective Infrastructure at first serves as planting ground for the mangrove seedlings and their protection while growing, secondly the structures supplement the defensive power of the plants against waves. The project provides habitat for the mangrove forests and by extension also for seagrass, coral, fish and shellfish. A supplementary benefit of the reintroduction of the mangrove forests is their filtering capacities for urban and agricultural runoff and their quality as habitat for many species.See more Download project entry poster (PDF, 1.67 MB) »