Future Shocks and City Resilience: Building Organizational Capacity for Resilience and Sustainability through Game Play and Ways of Thinking

Lauren Keeler, Adam Gabriele, Braden R. Kay, Arnim Wiek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


While federal action on climate change and renewable energy development has lagged in the United States, cities are undertaking ambitious sustainability initiatives. Motivation often flows from a resilience mindset - how cities can prepare for and be resilient to future shocks. The conflation of sustainability and resilience jeopardizes the success of sustainability efforts and limits their scope. Institutionalizing sustainability in city governments requires building capacity for city leadership to link sustainability and resilience objectives. This article builds on previous work in sustainability education to demonstrate how key competencies, or ways of thinking, in sustainability can be adapted for use with city leadership. The article introduces a novel board game entitled Future Shocks and City Resilience as a method for creating an interactive educational environment that facilitates learning while contributing to cultural change within a city administration. The game was played with leadership from the City of Tempe, Arizona. Results from analyzing the game play indicate that the game encourages participants to utilize sustainability in ways of thinking at a novice level. Recommendations include how cities can utilize this and other capacity-building tools to develop intermediate and advanced sustainability competence among their staffs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-292
Number of pages11
JournalSustainability (United States)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017



  • capacity building
  • games
  • resilience
  • scenarios
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Education
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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