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Would a Game Get You Involved in Planning Your City?

Wednesday, May 9th 2012

Summary: On Monday of this week, Detroit Works, the agency planning the future of that city, rolled out both a game and a social network to get its citizens involved in the planning process. 

Which citizens? 

There’s a focus on the tech-savvy and sometimes less-involved 18- to 35-year-olds. 

What sort of game? 

The game, titled Detroit 24-7, involves “missions,” one for each of the three weeks it runs. They are titled: “Share Your Detroit,” “Living in Detroit,” and “Getting Around Detroit.” During the mission, players complete mission challenges to collect flags. Those flags are pinned on a map of the city to indicate what players feel should be priorities in different areas. The flags can represent arts and culture, entrepreneurship, public transportation, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability.

Where did the game come from?

The Knight Foundation provided funding and Boston-based Community PlanIt developed the game. The company ran a pilot in the Boston public schools for 500 youth and adults. In 31 days the group submitted 4600 comments. The game creators found that young people want to participate in such efforts, but do not want to stand up and speak at meetings. According to officials in Detroit, the city is the first to use such a game for long-term planning.

Are there prizes?

Top prizes include HD video cameras for top point earners (adult and youth) and for a randomly drawn top 50 point earner. Those with the most achievement badges will be entered in drawings for gift certificates from local businesses.

What happens when the game ends?

On June 6, Detroit Works will host a city-wide meeting for players and others to continue the conversation. Detroit Works will use the data collected in a report to Mayor Dave Bing.


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