How is a mobile phone game going to determine Bristol’s future?

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ClairCity Skylines

A new game has been launched, and it’s all about Bristol. The ClairCity Skylines game from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and Bristol City Council, enables people in the city to shape how they want their city to look in the future.

By making decisions in the ClairCity Skylines game, players also provide data that can help authorities solve real world problems, such as air pollution, in the city.

The free app, available for Android and iOS devices, involves visiting famous sights in the city and making decisions about how Bristol should look in the next 50 years.

Within the game, players are asked to make choices about the city, such as whether more roads should be built, if wood and coal heating in homes should be allowed, and whether more parks and green spaces should be created.

The decisions they make are scored as they impact on the city’s economy and its air pollution, as well as residents’ health and happiness.

Enda Hayes, Technical Director on ClairCity and Professor of Air Quality & Carbon Management at UWE Bristol, said: “There are approximately 300 deaths a year linked to air pollution in Bristol City Council’s own figures. Our game is an innovative way to be part of a serious solution.”

The parent project, ClairCity, is an EU funded scheme looking at ways to improve wellbeing, reduce air pollution and limit carbon emissions in six cities and regions across Europe. UWE Bristol and Bristol City Council are two of the 16 partners involved in the project.

The launch of the game coincides with the beginning of a six month engagement period by Bristol City Council, which will involve speaking to local people, businesses and organisations to inform the upcoming Clean Air Plan.

UWE Bristol academics developed ClairCity Skylines at PlayWest, a games studio based at the University that works with industry partners to apply games technology to real world problems.

Bristol is the first of the cities and regions to be gamified within ClairCity. Five other areas around Europe will also get their own bespoke game to play, so that the project can map the different choices that residents make and quantify the impact those choices would have on each region.

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