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When highly interdependent water infrastructures break down, the situation can rapidly evolve into an avalanche of complex and problematic issues due to the number of interdependent actors, fluctuating interests, insufficient knowledge and lack of mutual understanding. To integrate these contradicting and overlapping aspects, improved communication and information management processes are required that would support effective and efficient knowledge sharing and application.

The Public Infrastructure Participatory Engagement Simulation – P.I.P.E.S. was designed to recreate essential features of a typical American system with aging infrastructure, highlighting decision-making challenges and their consequences. It compresses time and space so that a trajectory of a series of negotiations between stakeholders, decisions and impacts will emerge fully embedded within rational and value-based judgments and goals of participants.


Players take the roles of local authorities, infrastructure managers and citizens, whose needs create a complex net of interrelations. The authorities, under the constant pressure from citizens, gather resources through taxes and then negotiate what water solutions the budget should be spent on.

Often it happens that promising ideas targeted at root-causes of a problem and long-term risk reduction meet with opposition from these players whose priorities or risk perception differ. The conflict is further escalated by time pressure, mistrust or reluctance to cooperate. Whatever they final decision is, it will always resonate with many, often unexpected or indirect, consequences that affect the whole in-game reality…


The game was developed in collaboration with the Michigan State University. It was played with professionals associated with Meridian Charter Township board, the East Lansing Meridian Water and Sewer Authority members, members of the East Lansing community and students of the Michigan State University.


Players experience problems and dangers connected to the aging water infrastructure.

Players learn to interpret and relate facts.

Players explore problems and opportunities in complex systems where multiple parties, stakeholders and their needs collide.

Players practice collaboration among various organizations and groups of interest.

Players master decision-making in an uncertain environment.



Free for non-commercial purposes.

Number of players

more than 10 players

Number of moderators

2-3 moderator


2 hours and more


P.I.P.E.S. (Public Infrastructure Participatory Engagement Simulation) set


Technical requirements

Computer with Excel or/and Internet connection.

How to run this game?

To run/play this game go to the game’s website and contact its creators.

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