This case study is a model of a simulation game, focused on a local desert community, which is used to explore methods of menaging sustainable development in the desert.
The scenic town of Mitzpe-Ramon and its surrounding is the theater for a simulated case study of conflicting land use interests and convoluted decision-making processes that result. Mitzpe-Ramon, a growing desert town in the middle of the Negev, was founded in 1956 in the spirit of David Ben-Gurion's dream to "make the desert bloom". Its resources include minerals, a spectacular scenic landscape and unique flora and fauna.
Participants will role play as members of three different special interest groups from the town (mining, tourism, and environmental protection). Once they understand the concerns and needs of their special interest, the participants will debate their positions.
One of the highlights of this workshop is that the
use of two state-of-the-art survey techniques, Geographical Information
System (G.I.S.) and Remote Sensing (R.S.) to evaluate the study
site. Using these methods, students will create digitized maps
of the site and learn how to interpret and use this information.
Participants will acquire greater understanding of the complexities
of the decision-making process in land-use conflicts as well as
familiarity with the use of G.I.S. tools in environmental planning.
Introduction to Game
The objectives of the simulation game and the use of political decision-making in the process of sustainable development.
The Game Begins
The participants are assigned to interest groups
or political parties below:
Special Interest Groups:
The participants receive a description of their interest groups or political party. Interest groups read their role descriptions and choose the land they will develop or preserve (according to their interests) and then discuss the rational behind their selections.
During a hearing, they will present, on G.I.S. maps,
their choices and arguments to the political parties and other
interest groups. The party members also read their role descriptions
and political platform and make their own provisional choices
for how they want to see the land developed. They may also indicate
modifications on paper.
Interest groups present and defend their choices.
The political parties now get the opportunity to
define their positions without consulting with the other. They
base their choices and arguments on their position statement and
the arguments they have heard.
The political parties announce their preferences
and present their arguments. They may offer critical questions
The meeting is adjourned and will be resumed a week later. During this week, political parties and interest groups may meet. New arguments may come to the surface.
Any new rational or information is presented at the
final debate and at the monthly municipal get-together which is
held two days before the debate.
The political parties read new instruction and have
a small party discussion about the strategy to be folowed. The
interest groups also get extra information and try to form a united
front with other interest groups.
Informal Municipal Get-Together
All parties and interest groups attend an informal
municipal get-together. During the get-together, the vasrious
interest groups can try to convince the parties that they are
right (using new information or rationals). The political parties
try to pump the interest groups to find out what modifications
they must apply to their own plans to keep as many votes as possible.
Preparing the Debate
Internal discussions without the parties about what
part of the plans may still be realized. Both, political parties
and interest groups, hold internal discussions to prepare their
final choices, which they will defend during the debate, The
interest groups consider whether they have overlooked anything.
They also consider what trumps they are still holding. The political
parties run an election campaign to influence the voters.
Public Debate and Decision
The political parties present their ultimate choices.
After each member (or party representative) has his/her
say, there is time for a discussion among the various parties
and the interest groups. After this discussion, votes will be
taken. Only town councillors can vote.
Each interest group casts their party of choice.
The plan of the winning party is assigned.
The game is evaluated. Among other things attention
is paid to educational and nature/ environmental aspects of this