Infranomics pp 239-255 | Cite as

Boats and Bridges in the Sandbox: Using Role Play Simulation Exercises to Help Infrastructure Planners Prepare for the Risks and Uncertainties Associated with Climate Change

Part of the Topics in Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality book series (TSRQ, volume 24)


Climate change poses a range of threats to our various infrastructure systems. Among the myriad of hazards, increased precipitation and sea level rise may inundate transportation networks and heat waves may stress our electricity grids. These threats may require new ways of managing uncertainty and making decisions. Climate change adaptation planning is being proposed as an important part of infrastructure management and decision-making moving forward, but is not yet well developed or integrated as an area of practice. Various tools and approaches may be employed under the umbrella of effective adaptation—including scenario planning and multi-stakeholder decision-making—but they have not been fully embraced by stakeholders. Facilitating the uptake of new tools to effectively address nascent, complex and uncertain challenges by infrastructure-related institutions is no easy task. Role-play simulation exercises (RPS) offer one way in which we can explore issues and options with decision-makers and other stakeholders. These exercises provide safe spaces in which stakeholders that are not used to working together directly can interact and experiment with tools and approaches not traditionally employed. Simulations make it possible to zero in on the key issues while pushing those of less importance into the background.


Role-play simulation exercise Serious game Stakeholder engagement Adaptation planning Scenarios Multi-stakeholder engagement 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban Studies and PlanningMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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