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German Lawmakers Have a New Platform For Their Policies — SimCity

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, July 11 2013

(Facebook/SimCity)

Three German lawmakers may differ when it comes to policy positions, but all of them enjoy computer games. In the run-up to the German national election in September, Electronic Arts has arranged for three German members of the Bundestag to play the German edition of SimCity and will feature their progress online over four weeks. Read More

Researchers Say Making City Planning Into a Game Actually Works

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, March 1 2013

Composite illustration: Nick Judd / TechPresident

Public meetings and focus groups aren’t the only tools at the disposal of planners and communities. For help, some cities are looking to a game. As Boston and Detroit did before them, planners in Philadelphia have turned to an online game called Community PlanIt, developed by the Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College, to augment their planning process. Emerson researchers and city planners say it's working: The games are bringing more people into city planning than would otherwise be there, and a more diverse group of participants. Here's when they say it's worked, how it works, and a little bit about why. One hint: Yes, Community PlanIt has in-game rewards, but those aren't the real incentives — in-game currency is a way of tracking and understanding progress. People play to help improve their communities, researchers say. Read More

Hey, Baby: DoSomething.org's Text-Powered Teen Pregnancy Campaign

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, September 26 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Last January, Alysha Bologno, a digital engagement associate at the teen social change nonprofit DoSomething.org got a new assignment: Create a new campaign around the issue of teen pregnancy.

The solution turned out to be an interactive text-messaging campaign. Participants received texts timed to the rhythms of life as a teen parent.

"What about putting a baby in someone’s phone, and waking them up at 6.30 and [contacting them] at other annoying moments throughout the day?" she said, recounting the concept (conception?) phase of the project. "It’s like a Tamagotchi."

Read More

If American Politics Were a Team Sport, Would It Be Any Nicer?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, April 25 2012

In a country where someone is nearly as likely to play fantasy sports online as they are to follow the national elections, maybe one way to increase participation in elections is to bridge the two. At least, that's the idea that MTV, Politifact, the Center for Responsive Politics, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and others are pursuing: A $250,000 Knight grant is the principal money behind a project, supposed to go into beta in July, that will turn the elections into a fantasy sports game. Users will arrange candidates into "teams," according to a press release, and individual candidates will be scored based on publicly available data about the truth or mendacity of their public statements (Politifact); their political disclosures (CRP); polling performance (RealClearPolitics); willingness to fill out a candidate questionnaire (Project Vote Smart); their political ads (Wesleyan Media Project); and Facebook and Twitter use. Players, MTV announces, will also rack up points for using Foursquare to check in to town-hall events or political debates. They can also get points by starting the voter registration process through Rock the Vote. Read More

New Obama for America Page is a Jungle Gym for Donation Data

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, October 20 2011

Source: Barackobama.com Obama for America has released a website for users to explore data about the campaign's donor base, in order to celebrate, per the campaign, their one-millionth donor. The application allows users ... Read More

'Macon Money,' A Project to Connect Neighbors Online, Offline, and With Cash

BY Becky Kazansky | Tuesday, June 21 2011

Currencies aren't necessary known for bringing communities together, but in the case of a game called Macon Money, that was exactly the point: Game creators Area/Code, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight ... Read More

Quote of the Day: Claiming No 'Particular Expertise on Games,' Al Gore Predicts the Gamification of Politics

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 20 2011

It's inevitable that the ubiquity of games will produce among political leaders an awareness that this is a very important part of our culture and civilization. There always comes a moment where they get it and try to ... Read More

You Can Fix Health Care ... Or Break It

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, May 25 2010

Michael Bean of Forio just finished explaining the usefulness of simulations for government to a not-too-crowded room at the Washington Convention here in Washington, where I am covering the Gov 2.0 Expo. "The idea for ... Read More

Interesting List-Building Tactic in a Democratic Activist Email, With a Republican Online Game for a Chaser

BY Colin Delany | Thursday, August 16 2007

Just got an interesting email from the DNC asking me to...no, not to give money, but to send a thank-you note. (Paging Miss Manners...). Actually, it's a clever idea, since constant begging for donations can be a big ... Read More