If you’ve been to a typical community meeting or zoning hearing, you might not guess that planning can be fun. But a suite of new games and activities are making it more interactive, exciting, and enjoyable than ever to help plan your community’s future. These three tools represent a range of games and activities for planning, from cardboard models to high tech platforms.
One of the best tools for engaging kids in planning (or getting grown-ups to embrace their inner child), Box City lets people create a vision for the future using little more than cardboard boxes. There are no real rules to this game, though there is a detailed curriculum. Teachers can use the kit to teach students about concepts of planning and development, and communities can use it to model and explore exactly what they want to happen on their streets. Box City can be run at a variety of scales, from tabletop to parking lot, from a few participants to hundreds. Read more at PlanIt X >>
The Growth Chip Game
There are many variations out there on the Growth Chip Game – a low-tech, high-energy game that helps citizens determine where development should happen in their communities. Small groups of people gather around oversized maps and are given stacks of “chips,” representing different types of development. They then place the chips on the map where they would like to see development occur. The conversations happening around the tables are often more important than the game itself, as participants start to understand tradeoffs and explore the costs and benefits of various land use choices.
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This online platform from the Engagement Game Lab allows citizens to “participate online in several weeks of planning-themed missions to earn PlanIt Coins, which they spend on the values most important to them. The community joins together at the end of the process to discuss the results and plan for the future.” The tool combines features of social networking with incentives from online gaming, attracting new demographics to community planning and offering a fun, new way for a variety of citizens to offer feedback. It’s not yet freely available for communities to use, but has been tested in Boston’s Participatory Chinatown project and in other communities including Philadelphia and Akron, OH.
Read more at PlanIt X >>
Know of any cool games we’ve missed? Submit your own games and examples at PlanItX!