Community - reprogrammed Monopoly game for community building
Community is a board game based on the classic game of Monopoly, but reversing its logic from a simulation of capitalism to a blearing tool for community building. The game uses the same game "engine" as monopoly and basically the same board, but with new content and for helping create a shared agenda for the players, rather than "the winner takes it all" of Monopoly.
  monopoly reprogramming

The game reflects values and methods from both the Transition Culture initiatives as well as elements from Permaculture. The aim of the game is to make players question and rethink some of the values taken for granted in Monopoly.

Most of the functions of Monopoly are deeply rooted in contemporary capitalism and the formation of anti-markets. The title of the game might actually reflect some of the core mechanisms of today's alliance between banking and property markets and is also a telling litmus paper for the 2008 financial crisis triggered by "bad debts". Most winning strategies the active use of banking and the control of other players' mortgages is a path to success - a success only measured in monetary means.

The function of the state is deeply suspicious as it only takes money from the players - as no public service, hospitals or schooling are part of the board. The game thus highlight the deep mechanisms of anti-markets and how they strip communities from social capital and the game documents well the complex mechanisms in the market economy which is built on a misunderstood social Darwinism of "survival of the greediest".

On a city planning scale the abstract map of the city depicts well the investor's view on the urban landscape as an income generator, much more profitable than any wage work. Buy cheap undeveloped areas, gentrify them with a few Bohemian chic cafes or Starbucks and raise the rent. Make the area into a tourist quarter, dense with Boutique Hotels and you can take any player off the game with your rents. And above all - enjoy the free parking - this is a city made primarily for car owners.

  the logic of Monopoly
Community, on the other hand, is a game which instead promotes community building values and acts as a simulator for social activities, rather than the quite anti-social extravagances of Monopoly. In its micro-utopian endeavour such a game also exposes the logic of Monopoly under a new light. This type of "para-monopoly" is the Community game.

The game currency of Community is time rather than money. The exchange of time dollars or LETS (Local Exchange and Trade System) helps build shared social currency among the players, trading hours without the involvement of money. The aim of the game is to develop skills and share them, rather than own property. Each "street" is a skill to be mastered and shared to build a public community park. These skills include depaving, gardening, community cooking, sustainable energy grid construction, bio-diesel refinery, carpooling, conflict resolution, diplomacy and negotiations amongst other skills. All skills contribute to the common cause of building the park but affect the whole social organization and community capital of the neighbourhood.

The logic of Community

The community game builds on an initial concept created together with the design group Aeswad, later developed further together with Gary Marshall and Finn Mackesy in Auckland and in 2009 prototyped together with resident artists at Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco; a true community work.
game prototyping