Tempe leaders, ASU engage again with resilience scenario game

City officials play AudaCITy game

City of Tempe executives and leaders play AudaCITY on Aug. 30 at ASU’s University Club.

What kinds of work and recreation will the residents of Tempe experience in 2040? Will residents be using electric, self-driving cars for mobility? Will giant structures shade the pavement and keep temperatures below triple-digits?

A group of municipal executives and leaders discussed these and other visions of Tempe in 2040 at ASU’s University Club as the university hosted the second in a series of resilience and sustainability workshops with the City of Tempe. The first event was in November 2016, and ASU will host a third resilience workshop for the City of Tempe later this fall.

The August event focused on urban sustainability and resilience, with the primary workshop activity being a new and innovative game called AudaCITY, created by Professor Lauren Withycombe Keeler of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

“The goal of the AudaCITY game is to help participants — in this case, municipal executives in the City of Tempe — develop sustainability ways of thinking to enable them to set audacious sustainability goals and develop strategies capable of making those goals a reality,” said Withycombe Keeler.

Through five rounds of game play that progressed from large vision statements through tangible issues and actions that can be taken today, participants drew cards and discussed alternate trajectories that could lead to a radically transformed and sustainable future city. In the end, each of the teams presented a short story about their vision of a sustainable Tempe in 2040 and what can be done to make it a reality.

“By playing the game, we were able to put city executives together who don’t typically spend time together, thinking about problems they don’t typically think about,” said City of Tempe sustainability manager Braden Kay. “Sustainability affects all aspects of city operations, from parks to police and fire.

“The game helps demonstrate for our leadership how they are affected by sustainability issues and how they can be a part of helping us achieve our sustainability goals,” Kay said.

The game enabled players to understand the transformations that need to take place within the community to achieve sustainability and build resilience.

Withycombe Keeler said the game exceeded their design expectations. “It was a creative way for city officials to grasp the kinds of catalytic actions necessary to make Tempe a global model of sustainability,” she said. “We are looking forward to continuing to work with Tempe to implement the results from this workshop and ultimately get to a Climate Action Plan that can make the city more sustainable and resilient to future shocks.”

Withycombe Keeler and Kay are already planning a third workshop for City of Tempe executives that will occur this fall. That workshop will be supported by the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes in cooperation with ASU’s School of Sustainability and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

More Environment and sustainability


A collection of maroon, yellow and light blue coral on a flat ASU gold background

Designing a more sustainable future with AI

Editor's note: This feature article is part of our “AI is everywhere ... now what?” special project exploring the potential (and…

Greenery superimposed with icons representing environmental data points.

ASU researchers incorporate data into decision-making for conservation efforts

Leah Gerber sees conservation as a crisis discipline — the work involved tends to be reactive, with the engaged decision-makers…

Gobabeb Research Center and Institute is seen in the distance in this photo of the Namib Desert

When it comes to carbon collection, quartz rocks

Editor's note: This is the first in a five-part series about ASU faculty conducting summer research abroad. Soil carbon is…