Planning games

Role and simulation games are efficient instruments to make training more lively and participatory and to better understand a complex context.

GIZ supported the development of two such games dealing with the context of sustainable industrial areas.

Industropia is a role game in which participants learn about sustainability aspects of industrial areas. The game simulates a situation in which different stakeholders of an industrial area come together to sketch a sustainability concept for retrofitting and enlargement of their site. The game is supplemented by the presence of investors which are looking for industrial areas to locate their businesses. The game is based on the experience of the GIZ Sustainable Industrial Area Working Group which emerged from the sector network TUEWAS.

Game of Zones is a learning game based on the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) rating system for industrial sites applied in India. The objective of the game is to learn about the different sustainability concepts, identify synergies across categories and to discuss the concepts in a team and between groups. Recently the game was amended with a component for planning adaptation of existing industrial parks to the impacts of climate change.

Poster with icons

Poster with icons

Main features and components

Industropia – the story:

The typical lower middle-income country Industropia has a new industrial development strategy, with which the country wants to increase sustainability. In a pilot programme some industrial parks have been selected to receive financial and technical assistance to develop model Sustainable Industrial Areas. The GIZ gives technical advice. To this end Industrial Park Planning Committees (IPPC) are formed which represent various stakeholders. Their task is to come up with a park concept which includes all relevant services that are provided in the park, including details that would qualify as sustainability aspects.

Two different companies are interested in investing in the country and meet the different IPPCs for the first time. The so called “investors” set priorities regarding special features of the parks to suit their necessities. The park with the most convincing concept, in which most investors want to be allocated in “wins” the game.


The aim is to make the participants discuss aspects of sustainability in industrial areas from different points of view. The difference between the role description of the two park types is the existence of a park manager in one of them (TechCity). Participants realise that a well organised and competent Park Management is an asset for the organisational aspects of an industrial site and for successful acquisition. The game also displays diverse needs of companies as well as common interests. The debriefing should give everyone an overview of all criteria important to an SIA.

Game of Zones:

The task to be solved during the game is to upgrade the sustainability of an industrial park.

By playing the Game of Zones players is can learn about how different criteria interact and contribute to the development of holistic sustainable planning concepts. The concept covers the topics of environmental, economic, socio-cultural, technical, process, and innovation quality; and, since recently, adaptation to climate change.

The game can be played at 3 levels focussing on distinct groups of measures available for planning. Further, the complexity al levels 2 and 3 can be enhanced by including measures of level 1, or levels 1 and 2 respectively.

Implementation / work steps


  • Briefing (10 min)

  • Read Instructions (5 min)

  • Parallel IPPC Meetings/Investor preparation (20 min)

  • Visit of investors (15 min)

  • Parallel PPC Internal Examination/Investor Team Decision Meetings (10 min)

  • Debriefing (30 min)

Game of Zones

  • For each category the facilitator defines a group with players; each group should consist of one player minimum, with up to 6 players maximum.

  • The facilitator chooses a category for each group and picks 10 cards from the respective category for the group. The icons selected for the game are restricted to the icon of each level.

  • Each group has 5 minutes to internally discuss the icons and to create a planning concept, which needs to include 5 out of the 10 icons.

  • The concepts are then presented in a short statement by each group to the other groups and the facilitator going around in a circle.

  • The game pursues with a second round of group work – the facilitator defines two groups that are working together to develop a joint concept made up of their selected five icons, this time focusing on the synergies between icons and categories.

  • The groups get 5 minutes to negotiate on which icons to use and which concept to develop.

  • The teams present their work to each other.

  • The winner – the team with the most convincing concept – is selected by vote.



  • Minimum of 14 players (2 parks à 5 characters and 2 investor teams à 2 members).

  • If there are not enough players, the GIZ-consultant can be omitted and the game can work with 12 players.

  • If there are more players, IPPC characters or investors can be doubled.

Game of Zones

  • The required number of participants for this game is 6 Players.

  • The limit should be 30 players.

  • The players sit around a table with the facilitator.

Lessons learnt

The games are efficient tools to familiarise trainees with the challenges of integrated planning approaches and the concept of sustainable industrial areas and adaptation to climate change.

The complexity of the setting must be strictly limited to allow successful planning within a given timeframe.


  • Participants

  • realise that a well organised and competent Park Management is an asset for the organisational aspects of an industrial site and for successful acquisition;

  • learn about the different sustainability concepts;

  • identify synergies across categories;

  • discuss the concepts in a team and between groups.


Phase of intervention
Introducing SIA, Sensitisation, Designing SIA, Master planning, Retrofitting, Management, Climate change

Level of intervention
Planning level

Master planning, Sensitisation

Target groups
Community representatives, Companies, SME, Industrial area management and operator, Local and international consultants and advisors, Municipalities, Policy makers, Private investors


Asia, Europe

GIZ project
Sustainable environment-friendly industrial production (SEIP II) in India


Related tools
Planning of Sustainable Industrial Areas in India, Sustainable Management of industrial areas (SMIA, GedZI, ProCAIS), Guideline for Adaptation and Increasing Resilience of Industrial Parks to the Impacts of Climate Change