Living labs for flood risk prevention: insights from practice in Bremen, Germany

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Christof Voßeler (Germany) 1; Anna Pechan (Germany) 1

1 - The Senator for Environment, Urban Development and Mobility, City of Bremen

The city of Bremen, Germany, is affected by the impacts of climate change in many ways. Located on the tidal river Weser and near the coast, sea level rise, increase in the frequency and intensity of storms, heavy rainfall and river floods are some of the challenges it faces. The applied research project BREsilient focuses on two pilot areas in Bremen, which are potentially affected by extreme flooding and which are without any technical flood protection. Due to the absence of registered residents in the areas and/or the risk of flooding caused by heavy rainfall, conventional instruments of flood protection do not apply here and there is no public obligation to take protective measures. At the same time, many inhabitants use the areas for recreational reasons and a day care center is located in one of the areas. Different user groups and municipal politicians have raised requests for more public action.

Against this backdrop, the project applies the concept of ‘living labs’, i.e. a participatory approach, to develop concepts and measures of flood risk prevention including scientists, administration representatives and citizens in the process. In contrast to a conventional planning process, this approach enables the co-production of knowledge on flood risks and potential damages in the two pilot areas, as well as reciprocal learning between science and practice. It also promises more space for the co-design of concepts and measures beyond standard planning frameworks and for addressing the need for personal provision.

The presentation gives a short overview of status quo situation in the pilot areas. It then focuses on the design and the preliminary results of the participator processes. It gives insights into the lessons learned on the living lab concept and the transferability to other areas and places.