connect / 2021
Our Town: The Gamification of Civic Engagement
Our Town is a mobile app that allows schools, organizations, and neighborhood groups to report, post, and track community improvement projects, competing internally or between groups. Our Town allows members to establish teams and for the teams to establish the parameters of their “game,” setting the terms of competition, including duration, scoring, and point value. Points are scored by reporting community problems and by completing community beautification or improvement projects.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- City of Los Angeles
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
The problem is the mindset of “I can’t make a difference.” The problem is the lack of transparency between the “public” and “public services.” The problem is civic engagement and caring about your community not being cool or fun. The problem is the belief that the individual is powerless. The problem is the trash and graffiti that we all hate, but which never goes away. The problem is all the trauma and pain behind that trash and grafitti.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
Our Town was born from a project in another Wildwoods program. While on a community walk with 5th-grade students, we use the MyLA311 app and use it to help them report graffiti and trash in their neighborhood. As one of the kids was about to photograph a discarded refrigerator say, we overheard him say, “Wouldn’t this be cool if it were a game!” Cue the light-bulb emoji. That inspiration led to this proposal. The “game” or competition aspect of Our Town is self-defined by each member group. Each group can set up as many “teams” as desired. In turn, each team can set up internal teams, and so on. (For instance, a member group might be a school, which could have sub-groups of grade-levels. Within the grade-level, the different classes are teams. Additionally they can establish teams within the class. A team could conceivably be one person. Each group will create a competition page where they will set the terms of their competition (geographic boundaries, finish-date, team-participation rules, etc.), plus they can set the value and scoring aspects of their specific competition. For instance, reporting a graffiti tag that is ultimately removed is worth 2 points, while planting a garden may be 10 points, painting a mural 20, etc. Each participating team will have a page that is populated by the status of their filed reports along with pictures and blog posts about their community improvement and beautification project(s).
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Pilot or new project, program, or initiative
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Communities will be cleaner. Organizations will be stronger, Individuals will feel more empowered and more connected. They will have a greater sense of ownership of their neighborhood. They will understand the connection between greener neighborhoods and improved quality of life. People will smile more. They will say hello when they walk in their neighborhood.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
At the close of the grant period, we will measure success in the following ways: Number of app downloads: 25,000 Number of registered teams: 500 Number of reported and completed cleaning/greening/beautification projects (over previous year): 5,000
Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.
The Wildwoods Foundation is directing the project, setting the app functionality requirements. Ripe Media will bring those ideas to life and create an intuitive user interface with a welcoming and engaging visual design. The Wildwoods Foundation is responsible for the pilot, the roll-out, and the marketing campaign to launch the app.
Which of the connect metrics will you impact?
- Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
- Neighborhood council participation
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to CREATE