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Participatory development of cost-benefit analyses for urban climate adaptation – real-world laboratories with administrative employees

In 2018, the climate adaptation strategy of the state of Bremen was adopted, recommending a number of key measures. Since not all of them can be implemented at the same time, a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) was conducted in the BREsilient project so that selected key measures can be concretized and prioritized. CBAs have rarely been used in administrative action to date. However, they offer a good opportunity to make climate adaptation measures comparable by capturing all relevant effects in economic costs and benefits.

As a central component in the BREsilient project, the CBA was developed and implemented in a real-world laboratory consisting of a five-part workshop series. The main objectives of the real-world lab were to impart knowledge about CBA and to integrate this knowledge into the planning and decision-making processes within the administration. Employees of the Bremen administration from different departments and levels involved in the implementation of the climate adaptation strategy were included in the entire real-world lab process. Together, they first selected the adaptation measures to be considered and then discussed the positive and negative effects associated with implementing a measure and defined methods for their monetary evaluation. Furthermore, the potential of the CBA results for administrative work was reflected upon.

The aspect of knowledge transfer was evaluated positively by the participants; all of them stated that they had learned more about CBAs through the workshops. However, some workshop participants did not engage as much, for which the dominance of experts during the workshops was held responsible. The scientific partners of the real-world lab also learned a lot, specifically about the processes in the administration. Public administration is usually not a target group of real-world labs, but the format proved to be successful in this project. The goals were achieved and mutual learning processes took place. Individual feedback shows that the results of the CBA could definitely be used as an argumentation aid in the administration. The successful co-design of the CBA by the experts and practitioners can be seen as a decisive success factor of the real-world lab.

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Cover: Gröschel Branding