"Build your seaport in a game and learn about complex systems"
by Geertje Bekebrede, Igor Mayer
J. of Design Research (JDR), Vol. 5, No. 2, 2006

Abstract: The authors demonstrate how simulation games can be used to test and explore initial infrastructure designs before they are implemented. Games can provide important learning experiences for (future) designers and managers. The case study of a computer-supported simulation game, SIM Maasvlakte 2 (SIM MV2), uses a game whose object is to design and allocate land for the Maasvlakte 2 port area, to be built between 2006 and 2036 in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The evaluation aimed at improving the game, examining the system complexity of the seaport, and establishing corresponding learning effects among the participants.

I found it by chance today, when I was searching for one article about port communities. It looks interesting and funny, but my curiosity goes all to knowing how realistic is the game. Considering the way the Maasvlakte 2 project is evolving in real life, a realistic game should allow two or three generations of port planners to play around during their free afternoons. Better than an end, a never-ending loop instruction would be needed!

P.S.: More information about the game can be found here.

When I first saw this during the Fêtes de Genève, I thought it was another Swiss identity crisis. Only after I realised that Swiss humour goes a long way: a fairground attraction with several cars with the EU flag (27?), bumping into each other, is a wonderful way of showing your opinion about your neighbours and the will you have to be in such a mess. A politic statement full of wit, I'd say.

... was an intense day or raining, thesing, intern coordination and data basing. I also had my worst pizza ever at the UN cafeteria, smiled to bad weather for the first time since I arrived and keep broking my promise according to each one of these days I'll be in bed on time.

Work is piling up and it starts to be scaring. At the same time, the idea of a 3-week final effort for finalising everything is somewhat good and makes me look forward to speeding it up. And now that the sketch is set and ready, it's just a question of writing (and one or another finding along the way). GOOOOO!!!

The Port of Aveiro, in Portugal, has recently launched its YouTube channel, which can be found here. The video above celebrates the 200 years of the opening of the entrance channel of the port.

A new attempt to have another windsurf lesson, a new weekend without any wind at all. I expected during all Sunday just for a light breeze, but I haven't got even that. Hence, I ended up trying wakeboard, which was a big mistake. I hated it and I will spare you from all my complains. But the company (and the sun) was nice, though.

Saturday was spent at home, with a small Portuguese dinner prepared by me. Not that bad, I guess - the guests are still alive.

A mind map to help with a simplified version of my thesis. I used it to structure a small paper that should work as the treasure map.

This is the last volume of the "AGV Trilogy" that I've been uploading to my YouTube channel. It was shot in the ECT Delta Terminal, Rotterdam, on the 5th February 2007.

The weather is bad again. And a bit cold.

During the afternoon, I felt like taking some air for an instance and I went to the scenic cafeteria on the first floor. I grabbed my café au lait and seated at the table I usually had in my morning coffees with a former office buddy. Once I decided that table had the best view in the cafeteria, and we started to seat there every time we're going for the morning coffee, as it was the best place to indulge on the landscape and talk about work, life & beyond.

Today I stayed there alone, sipping my coffee and looking at the gigantic window facing the lake and the mountains. It was the first day I haven't seen any mountain. Mont Blanc is not a regular, rather a difficult client. One only has it in days of clear skies. But today there was no mountain at all. Not even Le Môle with its solitary, distinct form and sharp peak. Only clouds, mist and a vague idea of the lake.

Today I realised I only have five more weeks to finish, wrap up and put the pink ribbon on my thesis - it is due on the 24th September. Maybe I should have started to count this a bit earlier...

Today I also tried to improve my time management. From now on, I'll try to use the early minutes of my morning to sort out all the "intern coordination" stuff: answering questions, updating lists, sending notifications for events, etc. It's not that much work, but it's popping up at all time and I need some method to deal with it.

In the morning, I finished some side-work I'm doing to help my colleagues with a project for Angola. Knowing Portuguese is still handy sometimes, after all... Let's hope that people keep forgetting about that, about Angola, Brazil and all their potential - yes, because we, in Portugal, already had our time 500 years ago; and it won't come back... - and stay focused on the now-trendy Spanish and Chinese.

The rest of the day revolved around my thesis, my writings, the path to follow and the comments and guidance of my supervisor. I have my first commented draft and also advised readings to help me finding my ways. But that's for tomorrow. Tonight I know exactly where I'm going.

Good nightzzz...

UN headquarters in Baghdad, 19.August.2003 (credits: UN Photo UNE 3719)

Four years ago, a terrorist attack on the United Nations headquarters at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad killed 22 UN staff members, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Mr. Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

This fourth anniversary of the Baghdad bombing was marked throughout the world by the UN, with several initiatives taking place on Friday, the 17th. In Geneva, a small ceremony was held, with a minute of silence observed and a wreath laid by UNOG's Director-General, Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze. The Secretary-General of the UN also released this note.

Wednesday, August 8: A "professional talk" with Mr. Khalil Hamdani, Director of the Division on Investment, Technology, and Enterprise Development (DITE) of UNCTAD, and a "talk & drinks" session about corporate social responsability and principles for responsible investment.

Picnic-ing in Geneva

Weekend #6 (August 11-12): An early morning tour to the known and typical Ferney market, just across the border, and a picnic by the lake with the product of the morning incursion. Later, the fireworks of the Fêtes de Genève. Sunday was spent at home - cleaning, working, et caetera.

Wednesday, August 15: An almost-farewell Japanese dinner after a busy day at work. Time's running out of control.

The cafeteria with a view

Thursday, August 16: The eagerly awaited lunch at WMO and the consequent disappointment due to high expectations. Not that it is bad, but I bet the view tricked many of the people who sold me this as the best cafeteria of all. But I still manage to see the machines they use to do the weather, though. Later, the intern coordinator meeting, where I was as representative of UNCTAD interns. Quiet calm, with no big frills. Me and my UNCTAD colleague decided to show how people from the right countries of Iberia - Portugal and Catalunya, respectively - enjoy meetings in bars and pubs by leaving the table to get food and drinks. It was a pity they had already finished when we returned...

The weather-makers at WMO

Friday, August 17: It was yesterday, for me. Work, lots of work. The last stop of the Cafeteria Tour, with the Red Cross Museum delivering its usual (good quality). And a this-is-it farewell dinner at a Portuguese restaurant (no, I didn't get any fee for arranging this!) and a late-night (and early morning; well, not for usual Portuguese standards) out in a club in Pâquis, dazed by being listening to kuduro in Geneva. Yah!

Weekend #7 (August 18-19): Home, sweet home.

Billy Taylor and Max Roach, 'What Am I Here For'

The perfect way to start a joyful-busy Sunday. Also a tribute to the recently deceased Max Roach and a subliminal message to myself.

Good morning!


Today, together with some friends, I started my tour around UN cafeterias. The challenge is to find out what is the best UN-related cafeteria in Geneva and our first stage was chez Guterres.

António Guterres, also know for his nick-name Guga, is a former Portuguese Prime-Minister and the current UN High Commissioner for the Refugees. The UNHCR building, in the picture above, is not the nicest one from the outside, but the interior is something: bright, confortable, modern, it represents well a living metaphor of the different feelings of being outside or inside a home, alone or together with your people.

The gastronomic moment, even if without Mr. Guterres or Angelina around, proved to be a very decent experience. I chose a tuna steak with couscous, deliciously cooked and served with a good sauce. The set was also nice, as we stayed on the balcony, facing the sun and a small square behind the building. A good grade, for sure, but probably not enough to dethrone the cafeteria of the Red Cross Museum. Next stop: the WMO.

Fortunately, life is not only going to cafeterias: there are also restaurants; and work. Thus, the afternoon was the continuation of a busy morning and evening was the epilogue of a very busy day. Besides my own work, today I also helped some colleagues in the office with another project for which some knowledge of Portuguese is key. Yes, there are still works like this!

Thesis-wise, I issued a questionnaire and I'm praying to get some answers on time. A supervision meeting helped to keep the tram on tracks and a blind believe must guide me from now on in order to accomplish all my commitments on time. Otherwise, I must try to find a way of having 38-hour days...

Preparing questionnaires isn't easy, but getting responses on time - or getting responses at all - is even harder. Thus, one must perform some PR actions a priori, in order to assess the availability of key potential interviewees. It all went well today. Let's see how it'll be tomorrow, after the victims getting the questions in their mailboxes.

[fingers crossed]

At the Port of Rotterdam, 30th November 2006.

You can find more pictures by following the link "My Pictures" on the right-hand frame or by clicking here.

Talking with a German about conversion rates between francs and euros and referring to the latter as «our currency».

Work at work, talks, rain, more talks, work at home, reading, writing, translating.

A no-post today. I'll be back tomorrow.

The Celestial Sphere, Palais des Nations

The day rotated pretty much around UN/CEFACT's repository on "single windows", with me trying to read, understand, write. It was also the day of my first event as UNCTAD Intern Coordinator, a post I was recently promoted to. I know it's fancy and I must say I'm very proud of being the guy that has the power to update a mailing-list and, each Tuesday, send an e-mail to all UNCTAD interns calling for the Traditional-UNCTAD-Intern-Tuesday-Lunch. Today's lunch was a success and we even had to put tables together to fit all interns present, something usually not seen it this kind of initiatives - especially in August. Will this be the beginning of a wonderful career as a party promoter after arriving to Portugal?

The missed event of the day was a professional talk at WHO about current global health threats, epidemiology, and international health regulations. That and the football game after work. But more Tuesdays will follow - the next one will be tomorrow, as a never-ending round of talks and conferences is promised. I will let you know.

Boa noite!

Kitchen window & rue Blanche

According to UN/CEFACT, a "single window" is defined as «(...) a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements».

It is thanks to these "single windows" that most of my last days were spent in front of the computer, looking at my kitchen-single-window and missing all the buzz and sun of Geneva weekend. A short incursion to the lake on Saturday evening and that was all that I've seen from the Fêtes de Genève.

Coincidence or not, today was the day I manage to write more at work. Let's keep it moving.

Trachsellauenen, 28th July 2007

Today, in a sunny, hot, festive national holiday, I'm still to go outside. I've stayed the entire day at home, working and catching up on postponed tasks. Not feeling great about it, but it can help me enjoying next weekend.


© Duarte Correia 2007

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