[Ed. Note: We've already featured the use of Community PlanIt in the Boston Public Schools. In this post, Community PlanIt's Director Eric Gordon summarizes their work so far and shares how the tool will be repurposed for two new projects this month.]
Community PlanIt is an online game for community planning. The process is simple: an organization (city, school district, planning organization) is committed to meaningfully engage the public, they create content for a Community PlanIt game, and they implement a process that includes about 30 days of online interaction and a face-to-face meeting at the end.
There is lots to do while playing Community PlanIt, from answering questions about your experience, to resolving issues for fictional characters within the community, to starting "get togethers" (real physical events) within the community. But the goal of Community PlanIt is to earn as many planning flags as possible and use them to Map the Future. This is one's chance to contribute to the voice of the community and inform the decisions that get made. Players start off with as many flags as there are missions. So, if there are five missions, they start with five flags. Then, every time they accomplish a mission, they earn another flag. By completing most of the challenges within each mission, players can double their planning flags!
Last fall, the Boston Public School (BPS) district used the game to engage stakeholders in a conversation about how to define "quality schools." Of the 460 players, about one quarter were high school students. Community PlanIt created a cross generational platform that enabled youth and adults to engage in meaningful interactions. The youth brought a unique perspective to a typically "adult" conversation, and they brought a creativity of form (playfulness in the game itself) to a civic dialogue typically void of creativity.
Since the fall, the Engagement Game Lab team has been hard at work at redesigning Community PlanIt with a better interface and more features. And we are launching in two cities on Monday, May 7. Detroit, MI is engaged in an intensive long-term planning process run by Detroit Works Project. The Community PlanIt game "Detroit 24/7" will be one of the ways in which complex and dificult conversations about the future of the city will take place here. Also on May 7, Quincy, MA will be launching the "NoQuWo" Community PlanIt game. The City of Quincy, in partnership with the Asian Community Development Corporation and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, is using the game as a way of engaging people in a visioning process, which will address issues of businesses, transportation, culture, etc. You can register for both games now!
The platform is designed to accomodate multiple games in multiple "metro areas." The hope is that other communities adopt the platform and use it as a starting point for community conversations that are media rich, thoughtfully designed, and fun!