Urban serious game
Youth Office – City of Ghent
The game is part of a broader survey in which the Youth Service, through various channels and techniques, questions children, young people, students, families with children and the youth work on themes that are important to them in making Ghent an even more child- and youth-friendly city. The Youth Service bundles the results and the insights so that the new legislature can get to work. In this way, the department also ensures that the voices of children, young people and students receive the necessary attention.
Early 2017 the Youth Service of the City of Ghent, along with [EW32] association, organized 11 public participation sessions using an "Urban Serious Game". Mayor @ Your Town is a unique policy tool with which 500 students (16-18 years) make their voices heard in an interactive and fun way. Using a tablet, they are guided through the city to various locations and are asked questions about various themes. Young people get through missions the opportunity to think on various policy issues and thus make their mark on the (youth) policy. What goes on in the minds and lives of young people? How would they colour the city if they were in charge? What is their vision on mobility and how would they organize their ideal meeting place? What would they change in their city if they were given a free hand?
With the game as a method the City of Ghent wants to enter into dialogue with young people about the challenges of Ghent up to 2025. Through interactive, multimedia assignments they are asked about various topics: such as mobility, traffic safety, public space, meeting places, vacation job, career, leisure time, well-being on school, living together etc. After the game, there is feedback on and discussion of the assignments. EW32 developed this game in cooperation with a core group of 15 young people. Because young people helped, the survey questionnaire is also perfectly adapted to this segment of the population.
All ideas and recommendations were bundled in an accessible and readable final report. It is obvious that young people want to think about the future of their city. They have put a lot of ideas forward in order to make Ghent a youth-friendly city, for example a special taxi fare for young people from the outskirts of Ghent or a free Buzzy Pass (bus pass) up to 18 years old, or set up a pilot project in which young people think about the design of their school's interior or exterior space. The Youth Service (with other city services) are looking into their proposals to assess which ideas can be implemented.
Schools could register for the project in advance. The pupils were independently sent in small groups to the city for the substantive assignments. Then the results were discussed in group by a Youth Service employee.
A report was drawn up with the main conclusions of the project and statements by young people. In addition, 9 projects were drawn up for the College of Burgomaster and Aldermen. These projects are followed up further and we examine which proposals are possible for the pupils.
February – September 2017.