And what happened next?
“Teaching students about sustainability has always been important to me, and I was active both in classroom teaching, and setting up the Bachelor Global Sustainability Science. When the Utrecht University Strategic Plan 2016-2020 came out, it said that “all students will become acquainted with sustainability issues as part of their curriculum”. I thought that a sustainability game might be a nice way to reach this goal.
Then Joost Vervoort, whose research uses games to explore complex sustainability challenges, joined us at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. We easily found each other and joined forces. Developing a game where students could interact with and experience sustainability issues was how we’d reach the whole university. The result is Utrecht 2040”.
Sounds exciting! Tell us about the game.
“Utrecht 2040 has been developed with game developer IJsfontein. It’s an app on your phone, but also requires intense interaction with your surroundings. Students first answer a series of statements to see how they feel about different issues related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goal is that they start to reflect on the fact that sustainability is about more than just climate change.
In teams they’re then faced with challenges to carry out throughout the city of Utrecht, such as Take a picture of your biggest sustainability hypocrisy or Identify places in Utrecht that are suitable for urban agriculture. Through these challenges they compete against the other teams to build the best version of Utrecht in 2040”.