The Case for a Gamified Approach to Local Policy Making
Over the last two years, we’ve seen a groundswell of climate action. By late 2020, almost three quarters, or around 300 of the just over 400 local authorities across the UK declared a climate emergency. These declarations were accompanied by targets for net zero carbon emissions, with many more ambitious than the central government’s target of net zero by 2050.
Some calculators estimate that local decarbonisation needs to occur at a rate of around 9% per year for the next three decades – ominously, the same decrease in emissions resulting from the shutdown of the global economy during the 2020 covid-19 pandemic, some scientists have calculated. The early 2020s will be seminal in our local, national, and international trajectory towards a net zero future.
However, many local authorities do not know how they will achieve these targets. If the covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that local communities are both able and willing to take ambitious action to make their communities a better place.
Local authorities have traditionally been limited in the way they involve their residents in the decision-making process. So-called consultations have been the standard way for decision-makers to engage residents on policy development. Consultations have often been critiqued for only opening up a narrow, pre-prescribed section of the broader issues at play. This often means consultations lack meaningful and genuine democratic participation.
One of the most interesting statistics coming from 2019 is the exponential increase in the number of video games being sold across the UK. The UK digital games business grew by 16.3% to £3.6bn in 2020. Decision makers across the country have an opportunity to take advantage of a new virtual world, and for people’s desire to reimagine what their lives look like to make more participatory forms of democratic practices.
The recent growth in large tech corporations has largely been based on a deeper understanding of patterns in people’s online behaviour. The booming tech actors leading the data age have been built on the power of understanding people’s online behaviour.
The People’s Plan aims to put people’s priorities, concerns and considerations at the heart of local policy development and implementation, in a way that is educational, meaningful and fun.
The action we need to take to avoid the worst consequences of climate change is unprecedented. The People’s Plan is driven by the insight that games and gamification can enable us to explore realities in interactive and relatable ways, and to enable us to reimagine what a net-zero future looks like.
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