Land management in coastal areas has to cope with impacts of climate change and sea level rise. In Germany, landscape plans assess and organize the spatial allocation of land use as an environmental contribution to general spatial planning. Collaborative planning processes are important to develop sustainable and ecosystem-based strategies to make coastal landscapes climate proof. However, there is little experience with collaborative processes in practical planning in Germany, and probably in other countries as well. This paper conducts an empirical case study in the low-lying coastal areas of northwest Germany. During a collaborative landscape planning process, four different ecosystem-based land management scenarios have been co-designed by regional experts and researchers. The participatory and iterative process included the development of scenario narratives to define planning goals, the use of land use elements and their relations to ecosystem services as planning entities in terms of indicators, the art-based illustrations of the different scenarios, and an evaluation and monitoring of the outcomes by regional experts. The decision-maker group decided on the so-called “actor-based” scenario, which contained freshwater retention areas (polders) to prevent potential uncontrolled flooding of the hinterland. This climate adaptation strategy has been implemented in the regional development plan of the county.
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