Grafik af Anja Frausing

Living Ports in the finals for the 2022 World Sustainability Awards

Thursday 07 Apr 22


Jon Christian Svendsen
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 93 51 16 63


Wolfgang Kunther
Associate Professor
DTU Sustain
+45 45 25 17 52

A living port must also be a living marine environment full of fish and other living marine creatures. The interplay between construction and biodiversity in ports is the vision for the international project Living Ports. DTU Aqua is part of Living Ports which has just been nominated for the World Sustainability Award.

The international port innovation project Living Ports has just been selected as a finalist for the 2022 World Sustainability Awards in the Infrastructures category.

DTU Aqua's researchers Tim Wilms and Jon Christian Svendsen and Wolfgang Kunther from DTU are part of Living Ports, where they, among other things, collaborate with the company Econcrete - a construction company that makes new concrete from a casting that can attract and support life in the sea at ports to flourish around the concrete structures.

"The expectation is that a number of organisms will quickly attach themselves to the new type of concrete and form habitats and food bases for other organisms."
Senior researcher Jon C. Svendsen

How will the new concrete initiatives promote biodiversity in a way that did not happen in relation to the materials of earlier times?

“Hopefully, the use of better materials for concrete production can mean that fish and small animals thrive better in the harbor. The expectation is that a number of organisms will quickly attach themselves to the new type of concrete and form habitats and food bases for other organisms. The actual design of the concrete used will probably also create habitats in the form of shelters and larger surfaces - and thereby more opportunities for life in waters,” says senior researcher Jon Svendsen.

See more about the Living Ports project 

Using underwater cameras, the Danish researchers study fish and biodiversity around the new harbor structures and thereby contribute to the Living Ports project with monitoring and documentation of how the measures work:

"With this project, we expect to develop new tools to create biodiversity and good fishing in local ports," says senior researcher Jon Svendsen.

Living Ports takes place in Spain, but in Denmark the researchers have a similar collaboration with Naturpark Lillebælt, where they establish biohuts, which are kindergartens for fish in ports on the Little Belt.

The focus on biodiversity in harbours is new

 Traditionally, according to the researchers, no thought has been given to biodiversity in Danish ports:

"But now the water is so clean in the harbors that we can swim in it in many places. It swarms around with bathers in the summer, i.a. different places in Copenhagen's ports. Therefore, there are also great opportunities to support the sea's biodiversity and support good recreational fishing at the ports,”says Jon Svendsen and emphasizes that biodiversity does not come by itself:

"We lack the tools to promote marine life. But they are the ones we are working on developing now through the experiences we gain, through our cooperation both in Spain and in the Little Belt Denmark. ”

You can vote for the project
The World Sustainability Awards are established by the International Association of Ports (IAPH). Before the final winner is chosen, the public has until 18 April to vote on a project.  

The result of the public vote (30%) together with the evaluation of the jury of experts (70%) will together determine who will win the prizes, which will be awarded at the International Conference on Ports, which will take place on 17 May in Vancouver in Canada.

PICTURE at the top:
The colored graphics are made by Anja Frausing. It depicts the projected concrete module system to be built underwater to put surveillance cameras on. Cameras will record vertically and parallel to the harbor wall. Camera systems will be attached with ropes along the harbor.

FACTS about Living Ports

LIVING PORTS is an EU Horizon 2020 funded project, facilitating a large-scale implementation in the port of Vigo, Galicia, Spain.

The LIVING PORTS project is designed to create a fundamental change in the coastal and marine infrastructure industry's (CMI) operations by shifting away from outdated "gray" construction and towards nature-inclusive infrastructure with structural, environmental and socio-economic benefits, they write on the project's website.