Boardgames as a Tool for Teaching Basic Sustainability Concepts to Design Students


One aspect of sustainability that often baffles design students is the need to balance concepts such as the triple bottom line (environment, economy and social issue) with the product’s life cycle in their design process. In some cases, this is a result of a lack of understanding of interactions between these aspects since the theoretical part of them is often removed from the student’s daily life experience. One proposal to solve this barrier and allow for a better understanding and integration is the use of board games. Board games have shown to be a useful tool to teach conflict resolution, strategy development, forward and lateral thinking, either through cooperation or competition. Therefore they can be used to teach basic sustainability concepts (i.e. the tragedy of the commons, population bomb) and their participation in the triple bottom line. Games such as Settlers of Cattan, Civilization, Carcassonne and CO2 (an example of a board game with environmental aspect as the core concept), are games where winning conditions can be achieved through balancing several aspects. Therefore this can be extrapolated into the development of educative board games that can be used as a tool to explain design students the need for balance the triple bottom line and other sustainability concepts and allow for a better understanding. The aim of this paper is to reflect upon the initial findings of a research project whose objective is to develop board games for use as learning tool in sustainable design courses at undergrad level.

Author Information
Ricardo Victoria Uribe, Autonomous University of The State of Mexico, Mexico
Sandra Alicia Utrilla Cobos, Autonomous University of The State of Mexico, Mexico

Paper Information
Conference: ECSEE2014
Stream: Social Sustainability & Sustainable Living

This paper is part of the ECSEE2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon