Learning from and for rare floods in Dresden – how public officials interpret damage simulation results at the building type level
Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), 01217 Dresden, Germany
a Corresponding author: email@example.com
Public officials in Dresden are concerned about learning from and for rare flood events like the Elbe river flood in August 2002. This is interesting because research on individual as well as organizational learning from rare events indicates that this kind of learning faces significant difficulties (e.g., overestimation of rare events for decision-making based on “emotionalized event experience”). Up to now, only little is known what and how public officials in Dresden specifically learn from and for rare floods. Therefore, the paper follows an exploratory purpose in line with principles of qualitative social research. Firstly, the paper explores dealing with rare floods with reference to a conceptual framework that highlights relations between regulative, normative, and cognitive institutions on the one hand and learning of public officials on the other. Secondly, it adopts a single case study design in Dresden with embedded sub-cases that are defined with reference to organizations of FRM. The case study shows, among others, that regulations like the Floods Directive are important for justifying FRM with regard to rare flood events which is less obvious than it sounds. However, public officials display different interpretations of the term “rare flood event”, for instance, in the context of analysing the consequences of floods on the building stock. Furthermore, the case study findings indicate that public officials may follow alternative approaches to sustain commitment in the context of rare flood events (systematic versus pragmatic approach).
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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