Publications (FIS)

Deliberating options for nature-based river development

Insights from a participatory multi-criteria evaluation

authored by
Mario Brillinger, Sebastian Scheuer, Christian Albert

To address societal challenges in river landscapes, various options are conceivable that differ in the degree of adopting nature-based solutions (NBS) and the respective impacts on people and nature. Multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) can aid participatory deliberations about the performance and significance of such options. However, little experience and evidence exist from the application of participatory MCE in planning NBS in river landscapes. This study aims to expand the understanding of individual and collaborative judgments of agency representatives about river development options with varying levels of NBS interventions. A process tracing approach with a rigorous participatory MCE for four alternatives to develop an exemplary river in Germany is adopted, as well as weighted linear aggregation, descriptive statistics, principal component analysis, and decision tree modelling for data analysis. The results reveal a wide agreement among participants on the positive impacts of NBS on biodiversity and water quality. Participants also tended to judge those ecological dimensions as more important than non-ecological ones. The rankings of alternatives differed when elicited individually but seemed to converge during the deliberation process. Overall, the results indicate a relative preference of participants for medium NBS interventions, but also shed light on potential implementation hurdles. The study closes by proposing key questions to consider for MCE of NBS.

Institute of Environmental Planning
External Organisation(s)
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Journal of Environmental Management
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Environmental Engineering, Waste Management and Disposal, Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)