Bringing concrete to life: Ecological enhancement of urban waterfronts and coastal infrastructure

6 Juliol 2018
Sala d'Actes
Impartida per: 
Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel
ECOncret, Concrete Ecological Solutions, Tel-Aviv, Israel


With two-thirds of the human population concentrated around coastlines, alongside with growing threats from sea level rise and increased storminess, accelerated coastal development and changes to natural coastlines are inevitable. Over time, natural coastlines thus undergo severe changes, and in many cases are completely overtaken by ports, coastal defense measures, power plants, industrial facilities, and residential properties. As most marine flora and fauna reside in coastal areas, anthropogenic changes to coastlines are one of the key reasons for loss of coastal habitats, and for significant reduction of ecosystem services provided by urban marine environments. While coastal infrastructure such as seawalls or breakwaters add significant amounts of hard substrate that can be colonized by marine organisms, these man-made structures do not support similar species assemblages to those of natural coastal and marine habitats. This is mainly due to design features related to steep slopes, low structural complexity, and high homogeneity, all of which are rarely found in natural habitats. To date, coastal and marine infrastructure have overwhelmingly been designed and built with little or no consideration to marine life developing on them. As a result, their ability to provide ecosystem services similar to those offered by natural habitats is severely compromised. The seminar will present an emerging crossdisciplinarity approach, which involves the planning, design and retrofitting of hard structures to create multifunctional Blue-Green Infrastructure using ecologically sensitive designs and construction technologies that enhance their ability to provide valuable ecosystem services. These services are especially critical along urbanized coastlines as these locations are where ecosystem services are under the most threat and are most needed by society.

Brief biography               

Dr. Perkol-Finkel has more than 15 years of experience in the field of Marine Biology and Ecology in over 20 counties, specializing on design, development, evaluation, and monitoring of urban marine habitats. Shimrit has ample of technical experience in sustainable management of coastal infrastructure, conservation and rehabilitation at both species and habitat levels, planning and execution of green engineering and coastal enhancement projects. Dr. Perkol-Finkel has lead several large scale and long term projects like the EU funded MarUrbe project in Italy, and a waterfront enhancement scheme in Brooklyn Bridge Park NY. Shimrit serves as an ecological advisor for Israel’s marine spatial planning program, was one of the advisors for NY Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s WEDG program (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines), and was involved in the ecological design of the federally funded “Living Breakwaters” SCAPE Team Project. Shimrit holds a B.Sc. in Life Sciences, M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Zoology, all from Tel-Aviv University, and has conducted a post-doc in the University of Bologna, Italy (EU Marie Curie Fellow).