Will a computer game save Bristol?

The Game

Playing in a virtual version of Bristol, players will decide how to save the city and make it the best possible place to live. Computer games by themselves probably won’t save the world, but they offer an exciting, engaging way to get lots of people involved in finding solutions. The game will be launched in April 2018 – follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be kept up-to-date.

It’s up to Bristol players to decide how to run their hometown, to avoid disasters and make residents happy. While it looks and feels like a game, there is some serious play at work. The data used to build the game – from the impact of building new roads, through to the average life expectancy of citizens – is real. Players will test out different solutions in their imaginary world, and all of their experiments will help to identify the impacts, preferred choices and potential pitfalls that Bristol really is facing. The winning strategies that players find will test out future scenarios for the city.

Our data team will be building the “crowdsourced” solutions from the game into the quantitative models behind the scenes, to run as policies for the real city. Through this experimentation, we think residents can help to find the best solutions for Bristol, while having fun at the same time. We are also interested to find out if there’s differences between players in different cities. Some countries, regions or cities might show a preference for some types of solutions, while others converge on something different. We will be watching for these differences as the data is collected.

The App

As well as the game that can be played across many devices, we will have an app for smartphone users. The ClairCity app is aimed at organisations and employees, encouraging businesses and other organisations to identify how travel impacts their efficiency and staff wellbeing.

For individual users, once the app is downloaded they can choose whether to interact with it to understand their personal air pollution exposure and health impacts. We will use the app data to demonstrate the impact of pollution on all our lives and help city policymakers plan a better future for each partner city.

The app is being launched in April 2018.