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Building with Nature Guideline
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Frame of Reference to Understand System Interactions

The Frame of Reference method aims to structure the interaction between end user and specialist in application-oriented knowledge development. The Frame of Reference method works by taking the end user's information need as a driver for knowledge development and continually tuning on-going specialist research to that information need. Applying the method increases the probability that specialist research produces results that are applicable in policy development or practical application (van Koningsveld, 2003).

Even though an incredible amount of literature can be found on coastal management, coastal research, communication, knowledge transfer and transferring findings from science to practice, a simple fact remains: end users (e.g. coastal managers) and specialists (e.g. coastal scientist) still feel that there are problems in their communication. Researchers, on the one hand, are often of the opinion that their knowledge is not effectively implemented in practice. End users of specialist knowledge, on the other hand, often claim that research findings can not, or not easily, be put to practical use. It is not so much a lack of literature that is the problem here, rather we face the challenge of using available insights in getting two groups to communicate better.


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How to Use


Working with the ‘basic’ Frame of Reference promotes a greater involvement of the end users during research projects and facilitates a regular confrontation of research results with developing end user needs. A successful application of the suggested approach, however, requires an open and constructive attitude of both end users and specialists. Willingness to co-operate, an open atmosphere and a flexible attitude are also required to provide a favourable context. Individual personalities, research management and finance regimes can either stimulate or impede the development of such a context.


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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, e.g. following the Conceptual Design Tutorial, they need to be further detailed to assess their practical feasibility and economic viability.

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