Run that town
Leo Burnett last week launched a SimCity-style strategy game, Run That Town, using census data collated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to encourage more Australians to engage with census data. This data helps inform planning decisions that could have a huge impact on people’s day to day lives, but since most people don’t find themselves in the position of having to make those decisions, they don’t get to see it first hand. By putting them in charge of their own local area, Run That Town gives them a chance to use that data for themselves.
The game allows players to take control of an Australian neighbourhood of their choice and use census data to decide how best to develop it. Players can consult with and influence residents before building pools, casinos, stadiums and even theme parks. Popular leaders will receive ticker tape parades, while unsuccessful ones will be chased out of town by an angry mob.
Run That Town’s success won’t be determined until the next census in 2016 but it’s a great idea that plays well and looks lovely, and Leo Burnett may have just successfully pulled off the almost impossible task of getting the general public excited about census data.