Do you have what it takes to be mayor of your city?

 

The Wilson Center and the BRAVA Foundation of Brazil created the award-winning serious game Cities in Play (Cidade em Jogo) in 2017 to foster civic engagement at a local level. The power of educational games is that they allow us to take complicated issues and present them in a simple but engaging format. Designed with young Brazilians in mind, this award-winning game asks each player to become mayor of a Brazilian city and balance policy goals with fiscal realities. Cities in Play challenges the player to come up with their own plan for their city, in a way that is modeled after The Fiscal Ship, the Wilson Center’s game about fiscal responsibility with the U.S. federal budget: it aims to help young Brazilians gain a better sense of the trade-offs necessary to govern and inspire them to use that knowledge to contribute to their communities.

Play the game now at: www.cidadeemjogo.org.br

Instructions and English translations of the policy options are available for download below (the game is in Portuguese).

 

Fostering civil engagement, one student at a time

Over the past two years, Cities in Play has been used in classrooms across Brazil, through a network of more than 1,400 teachers and 2,500 engaged students in over 50 schools. More than 35,000 users have played the game, which is available for free online.

In a surveyBRAVA conducted to help measure the game's impact, 67 percent of students who played the game said they were more interested in politics, 69 percent said they were more willing to monitor the government, and 67 percent said they were more confident in their ability to influence public policies after playing.

The game has also inspired several municipalities to create their own "Mayor for a Day" initiatives in collaboration with Cities in Play and the São Paulo State Secretariate of Education. In June 2018, three students in the city of Jundiaí met with Mayor Luiz Fernando Machado and his team to discuss the problem of flooding in their neighborhood. Students were challenged to use Cities in Play as a basis for creating solutions to the most pressing problems in their neighborhood. After winning the school-wide competition, João Vitor Bertoncelo, Wanderson Vinicius and Gabriel Braitt were invited to present their proposals directly to the mayor -- and have been charged with monitoring the municipality's response to the issues they raised. These initiatives show the value of games like Cities in Play, which give students the tools and encouragement they need to speak to their elected officials and create a space for public officials to engage with their youngest constituents.