Researchers and young people develop innovative new boardgame to boost climate change knowledge


A group of young people have joined forces with researchers at Birmingham City University to create an innovative new boardgame to help raise awareness of key issues surrounding climate change.

Built Environment Courses

Birmingham City University

The Climate Action Game project, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), brought together 13 young people aged 14-18 from Balsall Heath in the south of Birmingham.

Over a two-month period they collaborated with researchers and other partners to create a free resource for families and communities to learn about the impact of the built environment on climate change – known as CLIMANIA.

The project was inspired by the University’s ‘Participology’, a collaborative game-making resource which allows users to tailor the format to fit key criteria and specific educational outcomes.

CLIMANIA, is available to download, print and play for free. It tasks participants with retrofitting properties – the process of adding additional technology to their homes - while facing different environmental challenges and opportunities.

Players take turns to answer questions about climate and built environment issues, building up their climate change knowledge to win retrofit components and race against time to reach the centre of the board, reinforcing the message of rising global temperatures. The game stimulates creativity, discussions and collaboration.

It aims to educate people about the impact of homes and the built environment on climate change, and how retrofitting buildings could play a vital role in cutting the demand for energy to heat homes and water, achieving energy security and delivering climate goals.

The game was created using a series of creative workshops to share climate change facts and to discuss how the built environment currently impacts on climate change, and how reforms could cut emissions and help communities to adapt.

The young people interviewed more than 30 people from within their communities to find out about their climate concerns. Four external professionals helped to produce the game and testing was held with over fifty people ranging from teenagers to pensioners.

Simeon Shtebunaev, Doctoral Researcher at Birmingham City University and Principal Investigator, said: "CLIMANIA is a demonstration of the untapped potential and innovativeness that teenagers can contribute to climate action research.

Associate Professor Claudia Carter, the Co-Investigator, commented: “CLIMANIA is a fun way to illustrate that climate action is urgent, possible and affordable – lowering resource use and costs over time. If you’re unsure what retrofit is about, play the game.”

Anam, one of the young researchers from Balsall Heath said: “The project helped me understand the amount of energy humans use and waste on a daily basis and reducing this could help our climate. My main takeaway is that we could come together to come up with solutions to help the world we live in.”

The game was launched at a special event last week (23 March) attended by the young co-researchers, architects, planners and academics from across the West Midlands.

It is now available for the public to access and download to help boost awareness of major issues of climate change in urban areas.

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