Sustainability Street:
Gamifying Neighborhood Decarbonization
An approach to rapidly decarbonize communities using social network theory and gamified rewards
Have you ever seen a "sustainability street" program you thought was a great idea? In this month's Gamify the Planet Masterclass, we're creating one!

Humans are group animals. By harnessing the power of groups (like a street, block, or community) we can layer on gamification features like badges, goals, comparison, and progress-tracking to create a program that has the main ingredients the decarbonization movement needs to reach the tipping point of change.

In this climate action design workshop, we'll be designing a gamified sustainability street program to promote decarbonization, electrification, and roof-top solar - and we'll learn the theory behind behavioral techniques work to tap into the human motivational core.
Gamify the Neighborhood:
Let's Play The Map Game
We'll be using free and easy-to-use tools like Mapbox, Google Satellite View, and Canva to create a gamified map of a neighborhood's decarbonization progress – or whatever climate action you'd like to focus on.
This map will make the basis of our "Sustainability Street" game. The quest is for each house in the group to take steps towards achieving all three climate action badges: gas-free, solar, and EV.
What you'll learn in the workshop
We'll create a neighborhood map, progress chart, and reward system with a communication program to engage residents.
A clean visual template of your neighborhood to get started.
Google Satellite
Discover roof-top solar in your neighborhood to start the disclosure process.
House Badges
How to use Canva to design badges to reward your desired climate action.

Making Your Map on Canva
How to use your template from Mapbox and add your climate badges.
Progress Tracking Chart
We'll count the number of solar installs and EVs in your group and create a goal and progress bar.
Yard Badges
How to design and print yard badges, plus costs and suppliers.
Contractors in Your Area
Get to know your local technicians who install heat pumps, solar, and EV chargers.
Personal Challenge
You'll have the option to take on a personal challenge to get hands-on engagement in your own community.
Group Communication
Best practices and platforms for building a group and keeping communication flowing.
We'll learn these theories of social influence and gamification:
#1 Disclosure
Showing residents a map of other residents' sustainability performance publicly discloses data.
#2 Conversation Design
We'll design how to use the prompts (like the map) to facilitate conversations between neighbors.
#3 Tracking Progress
Towards a Goal

The brain's dopamine system is activated by focusing on goals and tracking progress.
#4 Social Norms
People naturally imitate each other and may go to great effort to match or exceed the group's average performance.
#5 Rewards
People love to receive a reward such as positive encouragement, social validation, or an increase in position.
#6 Group Identity
A clearly defined street or neighbor team creates a group identity that can enhance the adoption of climate actions.
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Get the first-ever Decarbonization, Solar, and EV House Badges
Sign up for Gamify the Planet to get the first-ever Climate Action Yard Badges (worth $55) mailed to you!
Test them out in your own front yard, give them to your neighbors, or offer them to your colleagues at work. These badges are the first pilot of this style of home climate gamification that's been done - and you can be a part of it!
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*Availability may vary for countries outside USA.
(If you live outside of the U.S., send me a DM or email kp[a] with your address to check shipping availability and cost).
Why you need it
We need to design climate action for groups (not islands)
People working on climate action can often have a blind spot - that we tend to try to influence people as if each person were an island.

Humans are not islands. We exist in tribes. And humans can behave dramatically differently, (especially when it comes to climate action) depending on the "norm" (what's normal) and the expectations of the group.

Groups are everywhere. We form groups as teams, boards, clubs, departments, neighborhoods, colleges, classrooms, streets, and families. A group can be stable, like a workplace, or groups can be fluid, like a line of people waiting at the bank. Groups can be made up of fans of a band, clients at a hair salon, or followers of an Instagram creator.

Climate action spreads through human connection because we intrinsically copy the behaviors – and it is especially reinforced by the psychological power of the groups we form.
The neighborhood map game we'll be creating in this month's workshop uses streets, blocks, and neighborhoods as a "group" or "team" to ignite this powerful psychology. Groups can be nested into bigger groups. Multiple sustainability streets in a suburb can be compared to each other to further encourage their climate performance.
It's all about the tipping point
Social movements like fur, cigarettes, gay rights, seatbelts, and plastic bags were niche, contentious, and even unheard of for decades.

Then, what seemed like all-of-a-sudden, these movements jumped into the fore of public consciousness and won popular support.

This is the pattern of the tipping point. Practices that were considered "normal" (like smoking cigarettes in an aircraft) suddenly spark outrage. The action becomes widely unacceptable. Governments pass new laws. The old way of life fades into history.

The art of engineering these tipping points to happen faster is to create campaigns that are designed to spread from person to person through the medium of human connection.
Existing buildings are the big challenge
An inescapable central pillar of global emissions reduction requires house-by-house climate upgrades.

The daunting thing about this immense challenge is that even the most powerful legislation can't make it happen. Planning policy and building codes, by their nature, are only enforced upon new construction and major renovations. This leaves the existing housing - contributing over 90% of emissions - requiring building owners to tackle decarbonization and energy upgrades individually.

Sustainability street programs that encourage collective neighborhood action might well be the only mechanism influential enough to rally people toward the tipping point of zero-emissions buildings.
A "Living Lab" for Climate Action Design
It's easy to talk about the change we need. It's harder to get out on the street and implement it.

I've spent years exploring the theories of what gets people to change in my How to Save the World book and podcast. Now, I want to see the concepts researched in the academic literature get implemented in the real world.

This month's Gamify the Neighborhood workshop will kick off a "Living Lab" in climate action design for our masterclass group.

We'll learn the theory. We'll design ideas. And for those who are ready, we'll get out into the real world and test our ideas on real humans and return back to share our results.

The Living Lab for Climate Action Design will be a bit like a community-based citizen science project to gamify climate action. It won't be as formal as an academic study, but we'll try to follow a similar approach of testing a hypothesis and collecting results.

We'll combine the hypothesis-and-evidence approach with modern design-thinking and lean startup style (lots of questions, testing, and iterations) to discover what works on real problems in the real world.
Who's it for?
Gamify the Neighborhood is for climate professionals seeking to increase the adoption of their decarbonization programs, startups, and products.

Decarbonization & Electrification Program Managers: Learn this social-network-driven approach to rapidly increasing your community's adoption of heat pumps, electric vehicles, and induction stoves for existing residents.

Sustainability Managers in Local Government: Learn new approaches and theories to increase the traction, adoption, and engagement of your city's climate programs.

Manufacturers and Installers of Heat Pumps, Solar, and EV Chargers: Learn how to activate and support local community influencers to do the outreach to switch more homes over to electric clean energy faster.

Community Climate Organizers: Use this low-tech, simple, and fun approach to engage your neighborhood, school, or workplace in getting the emissions out of homes.

Building & Energy Consultants: Architects, engineers, and consultants - this approach will help you reach out to your community to aid the sales process to get more customers.

Startup Entrepreneurs in Climate, Clean-tech, and Sustainability: Learn how to build a network of climate-motivated customers using this community-driven social marketing approach.

UI/UX and Graphic Designers: Learn the theories of environmental psychology you need to design apps, websites, and campaigns that work to get your audience to change behavior.
I've taught environmental behavior design around the world
Hi! I'm Katie Patrick.
I'm an Australian-American environmental engineer and designer, based in Silicon Valley, California. You can trust me to share important climate action strategies with you because I take a deeply evidence-based and measurement-driven approach to community engagement and behavior design.
I study The Journal of Environmental Psychology and interview academic behavioral science researchers for my podcast and book, How to Save the World). I use these insights to design practical ideas you can use to scale climate engagement in your community.

I've taught environmental behavior design to major organizations like UNEP, Google, NASA, the European Commission, the U.S. Department of State, and Stanford University, and created several clean-tech apps and dashboards.

I started my career as a green building engineer doing LEED certifications (Green Star in Australia) and computational thermal dynamics for commercial buildings.

It's my passion to gather a deep understanding of the causal mechanisms that drive human behavior and put it together with the environmental data we are trying to change. Then, I'm able to design ideas, tools, and campaigns that are bright, positive, and fun (like a game), while hitting on the human motivational core.
I'm thrilled to kick off the Gamify the Neighborhood class to help us truly master the art and science of creating sustainability programs that people love, and even have the power to push the tipping point of change.

- Katie

Environmental Engineer + Climate Action Designer
kp [@] (email me any questions)
Mountain View, California
@katiepatrick @katiepatrickhello
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The God Metric, Target Actors,
First Contact, Cue, Data, Progress & Goals.
Nudges & Gamification,
Enhancers, Rewards.
Behavior Mapping Poster
Printable Behavior Card Kit
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