Green EMPAVILLE – participatory budgeting for cities

Green Empaville is a role-playing game that simulates a gamified green Participatory Budgeting process in the imaginary city of Empaville, integrating in-person deliberation with digital voting. The game draws on real Participatory Budgeting experiences and incorporates gamification elements to provide an educational and critical experience on public participation and deliberation on ecological transition.

In the game, participants engage in discussions and develop project proposals for the city that deal with environmental issues. Participants are required to provide a description for each proposal, indicate its geographical location (neighbourhoods), specify a budget range, and select a category from a predefined list. They engage in group deliberation, upload proposals onto the platform, present them in a plenary session, and vote individually. The storytelling of the game focuses on highlighting the environmental conditions, assets, problems, and emergencies within each neighbourhood of the city.

The game incorporates conflict generation within and between neighbourhoods to explore how participatory processes can handle conflicts. Participants assume the roles of Empaville citizens, with character cards shaping their profiles and promoting empathy and understanding of diverse perspectives. The simulation concludes with the announcement of winning proposals and a debriefing session. Green Empaville serves the purpose of cultivating a culture of public participation and equipping participants with essential tools to understand the benefits and challenges of democratic innovations and the use of technology for participation. Its main objectives are to empower citizens and to encourage their active participation; to educates on environmental issues aligned with the European Union’s Green Deal; to foster empathy; and to encourage collaboration to overcome challenges.