SUSTAIN 200 : The Sustainable Community


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

What is the sustainable community? The nature of complex social and ecological systems is unpacked, with a particular focus on the community. Students work in groups to design a game that shows a social or ecological system in play. The issues of food and inequality are considered in depth.

Course Overview

How do we create sustainable communities? What are the challenges involved? How have communities overcome these challenges? 

To answer these questions we will look at four types of community: a city, a suburb, a rural community and a small island nation.  We will discuss how the community is a complex social and natural system. Students will share narratives from their own cultural heritage that have helped people manage their lives together and respect ecological boundaries.

We will then look in depth at Auckland City and discuss potential innovations such as wildlife corridors, sustainable transport systems and green buildings. We will showcase examples of overseas cities that have made major progress on sustainability issues and students will learn how to hold cross-sector discussions that allow all voices to be heard when making decisions about the future. 

Alongside the above, students will work in teams to design a game with a sustainability theme. We'll spend time investigating different styles of games, invite guest lectures who are experts in game design, and help you form groups with complementary skills.  With some strategic thinking, imagination, and ideally one or two group members with a little artist flair, you should be able to come up with a game that teaches players something about sustainability challenges and/or solutions. All games are allowed - board games, card games, online games and real world games. On Thursday May 14th - save the date - we'll have a games evening where you will share and test your great works. 

The second half of the course will tackle two big sustainability issues: climate change and fisheries. What is the latest science on climate change? And, most importantly, what is needed to get us on track for 'only' 1.5 degrees of warming? We'll look at fisheries from a community perspective - who catches the fish? How can we, as citizens, ensure regulations that sustain the life in our oceans?

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of how complex social systems and complex ecological systems work together. (Capability 1 and 6)
  2. Critically discuss and apply the values of sustainability. (Capability 2, 5 and 6)
  3. Work with peers to identify and investigate a sustainability issue within the local community or a local ecological system and design a game that conveys the issue to players. (Capability 3, 4 and 6)
  4. Show good awareness of effective group process. (Capability 4)
  5. Demonstrate critical understanding of two sustainability issues and potential solutions: climate change and fisheries. (Capability 1, 2 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment on a cultural narrative that promotes sustainability 5% Individual Coursework
Test 15% Individual Test
Practical - group game 20% Group Coursework
Reflection - description of game and reflection on group process 20% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Assignment on a cultural narrative that promotes sustainability
Practical - group game
Reflection - description of game and reflection on group process
Final Exam

The assignment on a cultural narrative that promotes sustainability will be due at the end of the second week. If it benefits you, it will be worth 5% of your overall mark for the course, and the test will be worth 15%. If you do better in the test than the cultural narrative assignment, the test will be worth 20% of your overall mark. You must hand in the cultural narrative and show reasonable effort to be considered for 20% test weighting.

Learning Resources

There is no textbook for this course. All readings and other resources will be available via Canvas.

Special Requirements

There will be  games evening from 6 - 8pm on Thursday May 14. This is a compulsory event that will involve testing the games designed by each group.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation. Note that group work is involved. Some class time will be allocated to working with your group, but you will also need to use some of the 4 hours assignment time for group work.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 20/12/2019 12:49 p.m.