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Visual and Media Arts Assistant Professor Eric Gordon Awarded Knight Foundation Grant

Community PlanIt Logo

Carrie Fuller
August 24, 2010

Emerson Visual and Media Arts Assistant Professor Eric Gordon has been awarded a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for his project Community PlanIt, a mobile role-playing game combined with social software.

With the game, Gordon says he aims to revitalize the community planning process by allowing stakeholders to work—and play—together to solve problems. The grant will fund the game’s development.

 

“The goal of the project is to get people involved in their neighborhoods. This means everything from talking to their neighbors to contributing to planning decisions. We are doing more than just building games, however; we’re researching how games work in this context and learning about how we can apply games to the everyday life of cities.”

 

“I was thrilled to find out Knight Foundation wanted to fund the continuation of this work,” said Gordon.

Community PlanIt will be an application that will run on the web and iPhone, as well as having a component for iPads. It is the second game Gordon has produced through the Engagement Game Lab. The Engagement Game Lab is a virtual research lab at Emerson focused on the development and study of games to enhance urban civic life. Recent projects include: Participatory Chinatown, a 3D immersive planning game for Boston's Chinatown; and Hub2, which brought virtual tools and role-play into community deliberation.

“The goal of the project is to get people involved in their neighborhoods,” said Gordon. “This means everything from talking to their neighbors to contributing to planning decisions. We are doing more than just building games, however; we’re researching how games work in this context and learning about how we can apply games to the everyday life of cities.”

Community PlanIt will be funded under the Knight Foundation’s new Technology for Engagement Initiative. The Initiative was created to fund new ways to engage people on important local issues.

“As a foundation, we look for new ways to bring people together to act in their community’s interest,” said Damian Thorman, Knight Foundation’s National Program Director. “Harnessing digital technology is one way to inspire neighbors to work together to solve their most persistent problems.”

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