Collaborative decision making in sustainable flood risk management: A socio-technical approach and tools for participatory governance

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Mariele Evers
  • Andreja Jonoski
  • Adrian Almoradie
  • Leonie Lange

Currently a change of paradigm from flood protection towards flood risk management (FRM) is taking place, which calls for participatory governance. The paper's main aim is to describe how social learning and collaborative decision making can be realised as part of participatory governance and how they can be supported by socio-technical approaches and instruments. We describe the socio-technical approach of collaborative modelling (CM), and features of the web-based tools for supporting social learning and collaborative decision making, which were developed and tested in a case study on FRM in Northern Germany. The underlying framework of CM is described and the different phases with regard to stakeholder interaction are illustrated. The CM tools are described and reflected against a set of six criteria for cognitive learning in social learning processes. We illustrate how they can support learning about: (a) the status of the problem; (b) possible solutions and the accompanying consequences; (c) other peoples' and groups' interests and values; (d) one's own personal interests; (e) methods, tools, and strategies for better communication; and (f) practicing, using and applying holistic and integrative thinking.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2016