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DC finds partner to engage in more playful engagement

Josh Silver, from the DC Office of Planning and Dr. Benjamin Stokes Founder of the Playful City Lab at American University talk about their collaborative work to bring more playfulness into community engagement and share some examples of their work in action.

PlanningEngagementCitizen Engagement

Washington, DC

United States

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Citizen engagement is top of mind for many local governments. And it should be. Local governments continue to grapple with communications strategies around COVID-19 and the vaccine, are working with tightening budgets, and are continuing to face pressure to innovate at the same pace as private sector companies. In times like these, building and maintaining trust with your community is key.
There are many ways local governments are working to do just this. Washington, DC's Office of Planning is looking to "play" to better engage their residents...and we don't just mean playgrounds.
Joshua Silver from the DC Office of Planning has spearheaded a partnership with The Playful City Lab at American University to work on bringing various aspects of play into their work at the city. Dr. Benjamin Stokes, assistant professor at American University, Founder of The Playful City Lab at American University, and author of "Locally Played: Real-World Games for Stronger Places and Communities” has worked with Silver and his team to develop games aimed to create intrigue, fun and ultimately more inclusive and effective engagement across the city.
As a leader in the 'playful cities' movement, DC's comprehensive plan has gone as far as to incorporate play throughout. Silver says:
"Play is a universal experience about bringing different people together. It's about helping children learn and promoting better physical and mental health for all residents. And those are the things that we aspire to do with the communities that we work with as planners, as designers.
When play is really thoughtfully designed in the public realm, it creates enriching or memorable public spaces and facilitates interactions and community building among residents of diverse backgrounds and ages. And that lends itself back to our community engagement."
In this podcast series, we tap into some methodologies around playful engagement and how you can leverage some of these strategies for your own engagement with very little budget.


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Lindsay Pica-Alfano

Co-founder at Govlaunch





In Progress


Locally Played: Real-World Games for Stronger Places and Communities

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