Cooperating for added value: Using participatory game theory in implementing nature-based flood defences

Heleen Vreugdenhil*, Stephanie Janssen, Leon Hermans, Jill Slinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


The increasingly active role of stakeholders in the development of innovative nature-based solutions calls for appropriate instruments to support and realise added value from their involvement. In this paper we apply a newly developed instrument “Cooperation for Added Value” (Co-Add) to a study area on the Dutch coast. The instrument draws on participatory game theory and policy analysis to provide a theoretically sound structure for facilitating interactions aimed at identifying shared opportunities and potential coalitions for cooperation. The application in the case study Noard-Fryslân Bûtendyks affirmed that the Co-Add instrument systematically facilitated stakeholders in exploring potentially promising opportunities and gaining insight in the added value of engaging in diverse cooperations. Stakeholders came to understand which solutions were more achievable than others and what was needed to enable implementation in terms of collaboration, including the role of their own organization. Furthermore, social dilemmas in which a particular nature-based solution is attractive to a coalition of stakeholders but is not the most beneficial solution for a particular individual stakeholder, became clear. This represents a practical contribution to the range of participatory instruments that can be applied in societally challenging complex problems that require collaboration for their resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106507
JournalEcological Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Coalitions
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Participatory game theory
  • Policy analysis
  • Social dilemma
  • Wadden sea


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