Andrés Tarté an Industrial Engineer (USMA 2001), with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and Graduate studies in Sustainability (Michigan Technological University, 2009); he is a Fulbright Scholar, designer of ECOPOLIS, and founder of HABITAT Games.
His Masters Research thesis: Identifying Indicators of Sustainable Development Using the Global Sustainability Quadrant Approach, is available for download here.
Andrés Tarté began to explore issues related to sustainable development from an early age, inspired by his father, hero and mentor, Rodrigo.
Rodrigo Tarte P. (1936-2011) was a prominent Panamanian scientist, and sustainability advocate. Through his many roles as a researcher, educator, consultant, and head of NGOs and international organizations, he grew increasingly concerned about the way human development patterns are depleting the planet’s natural resources.
He was a champion for integrated knowledge management approaches for sustainable development, but was particularly frustrated by the ineffectiveness of conventional methods to communicate such vital knowledge. He knew that a different approach was needed to mainstream sustainability awareness –perhaps one that was game-based–, and inspired Andrés to come up with possible game mechanics.
A few good ideas came up, but they could not escape the usual “trivia question” mechanic. What they needed was a strategy game, one that had multidisciplinary decision-making at its core, and reflected what happens in the real world. So the idea was put on hold, left to flourish in the back of the mind…
Then one day, while Andrés was attending one of those lectures that invite daydreaming, the premise for what eventually became ECOPOLIS came to him in a flash. Rodrigo loved it from the start and remained actively involved in its development until his untimely departure. His passing brought much dismay into Andres’ life, but he never lost the determination to see his father’s vision fulfilled.
Since then, many prototypes have been designed, tested, and modified –with priceless feedback and support from numerous parties–, to arrive at the board game we have today.