“Never let a crisis go to waste.”
- Rahm Emanuel, Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, D.C November 18, 2008
This studio asks how climate risk opens opportunities to radically restructure collective society. We designed a wide range of educational institutions in Washington, D.C.—from charter schools to prison GED programs to government-funded, research university think tanks—as part of a larger
civic infrastructure of post-disaster planning.
Shown here are board games the students created to play out potential climate-related scenarios. We adopted scenario planning to prompt speculation, evaluate our designs, and to illuminate the political dynamics of climate change.
Project 1: In Hot Water
students: Robert Jiang and Jack Tao
Year 2050. As predicted by scientific research, Washington
D.C. is facing a 10-foot flood in the coming decade! An
ambitious waterway system, the WET-LINE, is proposed to
enhance the capital’s resilience to such a catastrophic flood. The government, entrepreneurs and local communities are all eager to build this project. While striving to protect their properties, they realize that what they are doing may not only save their lives and wealth, but also permanently change the cityscape of D.C…. The game is for 3 players: Politician: representing government interests,
Entrepreneur: representing business interests, Community: representing local residents and landowners’ interests.
Project 2: In Hot Water
students: Shoshana Kahan, Matt Kennedy and Brendan Vogt
This game imagines cooperation and competition among energy producers, consumers and middle-men in the face of increasing heat waves, flooding and other effects of climate change. These players–such as City Hall, the Environmental Protection Agency, Pepco, the IRS, the Smithsonian, and a new fringe group called the ‘Urban Agricultural Front,’ among others–can protect themselves from black-outs by building co-generation plants, or guard against storms by building levees. But they must weigh these opportunities against their other desires for expansion, new customers and tax dollars
Project 3: Delirious D.C.
students: Mira De Avila-Shin and Galen Pardee
This game imagines the impact of floods on federal agencies
headquartered in the District of Columbia’s low-lying regions. As climate change exacerbates the frequency and severity of floods, federal agencies will seek to relocate above the flood plain (shown in yellow), yielding opportunities for either cooperation and competition between federal and local government. This game enables two players, federal and local, to site key operations, such as FBI offices, courthouses, municipal jails, and other functions. Players receive points either for creating continuity among programs, or for creating interesting hybrids, such as the “F.B.I.R.S.”