Adaptive and interactive futures: developing a ‘serious game’ for coastal community engagement and decision making

Authors: Kathryn Davies*, University of Utah, Benjamin Davies, University of Utah, Paula Blackett, National Institute of Water and Atmosheric Research, Paula Holland, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Nicholas Cradock-Henry, Landcare Research
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: adaptation, climate change, sea level rise, serious games
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 6
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Climate change is affecting coastal communities and livelihoods around the world, but there is a gap between scientific knowledge and public understanding about climate change and adaptation actions. This paper describes the development of a novel ‘serious game’ designed to engage diverse communities and build their capacity to address sea level rise. Serious games are games or simulations used for purposes beyond entertainment. They are increasingly recognized for their potential to facilitate the exploration of value-laden and contested decisions, and support learning in diverse communities. Using compelling narratives based on real situations from coastal Aotearoa New Zealand, the online Adaptive Futures serious game is tailored to engage a range of user interests. Players are positioned as decision makers for a coastal community in which the rate of sea level rise is unknown, and all decisions have physical, social, and economic consequences. Players must work with a diverse range of community interests to enable adaptation to sea level rise. Non-player characters (NPCs) represent views typically expressed in coastal adaptation debates and their values are associated with a spectrum of capitals. NPCs shift their desires and responses based on their position within a unique ‘satisfaction vs trust’ matrix. Players must consider a range of values and adaptation options, rather than making their decisions based on finance or science alone. How players engage with the community, and the adaptation options chosen, influences subsequent NPC behaviors and the player’s score. Adaptive Futures players learn about and experiment with climate change impacts, implications and adaptations.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login