Community PlanIt aims to augment existing offline engagement efforts by stepping up where face-to-face meetings often fall flat. All too often planning meetings are beset by a lack of diversity, learning, and trust, and a surplus of one-issue activists, incivility, and misunderstandings. Community PlanIt provides a framing that allows cities and organizations to guide constituents through the narrative of the planning process, creating opportunities along the way for learning, civil conversation, and meaningful input.
Within a series of time-limited missions, players compete with each other to earn influence in their community to fund local projects. At the same time, they learn about key issues related to the topic of the engagement process, connect with each other, and suggest solutions to problems. Each game culminates in a face-to-face community event, where players meet with each other and discuss the results of the process and next steps with curators of the game and other decision makers.
The game has been played by over 10,000 people across a dozen cities. It has been used in a wide array of contexts that go well beyond city master planning: from setting public health priorities in neighborhoods to addressing waste-water management at the regional scale, and from social media policy setting in individual schools to tackling the issue of youth unemployment in developing countries at the national scale.