Students organizing the future ocean

Ekenäs, Finland – Novia University of Applied Sciences hosted a Marine Spatial Planning workshop coordinated by Igor Mayer and his support team from the Breda University of Applied Sciences on the 15th and 16th of October. The game “Meet the challenge!” was organized for the Sustainable Coastal Management students to increase their knowledge about ocean planning.

The program started with a short introduction about the schedule and focusing on aims. Students participated in different activities, of which the first was a tricky puzzle. The main purpose of this activity was cooperation between students, also thinking outside of the box and finding possible solutions as quickly as possible. These are all necessary skills in the Marine Spatial Planning process.

Secondly, participants formed groups as countries in a board game which purpose was the planning of sea space. In each country, students had roles – planners and people responsible for nature protection, business, energy and tourism. There were certain goals to accomplish as well as rules to follow. The activity was useful, because like in a real Marine Spatial Planning conflicts and communication between representatives of different interests and countries existed.

The most important activity was Marine Spatial Planning Challenge 2050, which is a computer based simulation-game for planning human activities in the ocean. Students were again divided into groups as countries and had different goals to accomplish through the years. Participants became familiar with the computer program and made a plan for future sea. That involved communicating with stakeholders and a minister. At the end, students presented their achievements.

The workshop about Marine Spatial Planning was very helpful for the participants. They used the theoretical knowledge from lectures and linked it with the new practical activities. “It was a little difficult at the beginning to use the computer program and devise a plan for the future sea. However, it was very fun and exciting!” said the members from country Orange in conclusion.

Text: Maia Treubladt