Play it to PlanIt: Online gaming meets community planning in NoQuWo

North Quincy & Wollaston (NoQuWo) area residents can sign up now to play NoQuWo: Neighborhoods on the move, the online game that will help plan the future of their community. This game is part of the” next generation” of online gaming technology as a planning/visioning community engagement tool and launches this Saturday, May 5 with a launch party in Quincy.

The development of NoQuWo drew on lessons learned from our first project CommunityPlanIt  collaborative project, Participatory Chinatown. We’re also taking advantage of social media communication and smart phone/tablet technology to bring longtime residents and newer communities together in planning for the future of  NoQuWo.

people engage in more thoughtful, creative thinking about planning challenges and opportunities

Online planning games offer the opportunity to compete for points and earn badges while role playing with different characters that represent the needs of different types of people in the community. These games help people engage in more thoughtful, creative thinking about the planning challenges and opportunities for their neighborhood. The NoQuWo gaming environment was created by incorporating images and stories drawn from members of the community on a Walkshop tour of the area.

composition of NoQuWo photos

The NoQuWo walkshop was inspired by a similar project undertaken by PlaceMatters in Somerville last summer; it brought together members of the public, our project task force, and local planners in a walking tour the commercial strip of Hancock Street. Along the way, participants snapped photos of anything of interest (good or bad) and discussed their observations of the area. Participants with smart phones were able to directly upload their pictures to MAPC’s Flickr site, allowing us to document their visual experience on the tour.

Tour leaders used iPads to show historical photos and infographs along the way to lend context to several of the potential planning projects discussed along the way. These images and the conversations ended up shaping the characters and scenarios developed for the NoQuWo game “missions.”

Each NoQuWo gaming mission focuses on a different topic of interest, including: living, playing, doing business and getting around. Participants will compete in these missions for points and badges, and can also issue challenges to other players that can result in real “on the ground” changes in the neighborhood (i.e., challenging other players to picking up trash or beautifying a spot in the neighborhood). The ultimate goal is to foster interest in planning for the future of the neighborhood, and create a sense of community involvement where many different voices can be heard.

The NoQuWo (North Quincy-Wollaston) Community PlanIt game is launching this Saturday, May 5, and residents who wish to participant should sign up now to be able to play.

Community PlanIt logoThe NoQuWo Community PlanIt game is a collaborative project between the Metropolitan Area Planning Countil, City of Quincy, Asian Community Development Corporation and Emerson College

Holly St. Clair, MAPC’s Data Services Director