Intergenerational Planning and Sea Level Rise, Presentation for the Annual Conference of The Environmental Design Research Association, June 2.

Dr. Hope Hui Rising presented lessons learned from intergenerational planning and designing for sea level rise using design games at the Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association in Madison, WI.


We examined the potential of design game in facilitating intergenerational planning and design for sea level rise in eight community workshops in Seattle and San Francisco. A design game asks participants to take turns proposing or removing an intervention. A total of 66 participants engaged in 26 design games after having attended a briefing presentation on climate adaptation. The participants included 23 expert adults, 11 non-expert adults, 15 high school students without climate adaptation education, and 17 college students with climate adaptation education. Through an online survey, 17 participants shared their design game experience.

By examining survey results and design game outcomes, we found expert adults and college students proposed larger-scale planning solutions for the most part while non-expert adults and high school students focused on smaller-scale site-specific interventions. Two expert adults and 17 college students with previous climate adaptation education proposed long-term coastal resiliency measures for sea level rise adaptation in situ while 21 expert adults, 11 non-expert adults, and 15 high school students proposed short-term projects that would require emergency evaluation in future sea level rise scenarios.

Most college students preferred mixing with expert adults because of the realistic insights they gained from experts although the students tended to feel overshadowed by experts when working at the same tables. Separating experts and college students during design games led to more input from both groups. College students proposed sea level rise adaptation measures only when they had their own design game tables while these measures were missing when they worked with the other participants. This study demonstrates that intermixing generations during design games may not lead to an adaptation plan grounded in intergenerational consensus. Future studies should examine the effect of climate adaptation education on design game results for both mixing and separating generations at design game tables.



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