The inherent complexity of planning at sea, called maritime spatial planning (MSP), requires a planning approach where science (data and evidence) and stakeholders (their engagement and involvement) are integrated throughout the planning process. An increasing number of innovative planning support systems (PSS) in terrestrial planning incorporate scientific models and data into multi-player digital game platforms with an element of role-play. However, maritime PSS are still early in their innovation curve, and the use and usefulness of existing tools still needs to be demonstrated. Therefore, the authors investigate the serious game, MSP Challenge 2050, for its potential use as an innovative maritime PSS and present the results of three case studies on participant learning in sessions of game events held in Newfoundland, Venice, and Copenhagen. This paper focusses on the added values of MSP Challenge 2050, specifically at the individual, group, and outcome levels, through the promotion of the knowledge co-creation cycle. During the three game events, data was collected through participant surveys. Additionally, participants of the Newfoundland event were audiovisually recorded to perform an interaction analysis. Results from survey answers and the interaction analysis provide evidence that MSP Challenge 2050 succeeds at the promotion of group and individual learning by translating complex information to players and creating a forum wherein participants can share their thoughts and perspectives all the while (co-) creating new types of knowledge. Overall, MSP Challenge and serious games in general represent promising tools that can be used to facilitate the MSP process.
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