Can Pokémon Go, a game that encourages people to run around town with their eyes glued to their screens actually encourage civic participation?
Well, the Free Library of Philadelphia thinks so, Generocity’s Julie Zeglen reports.
Last summer, the city’s library system partnered with Knight Foundation and Pokémon Go parent company Niantic to set up short-term Pokéstops at five library branches across the city: Tacony LAB in the Northeast; Queen Memorial Library in Point Breeze; Fumo Family Library in South Philadelphia; Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library in West Philadelphia; and Parkway Central Library in Logan Square. The month-long experiment was designed to “encourage more people to interact with and explore our city’s public spaces,” Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation’s Philly program director, told Zeglen. “This initiative taps into the power of technology to promote civic engagement.”
As we head towards another summer season, the Free Library will be sharing the lessons it learned about bringing augemented and virtual reality technology into neighborhoods at the first session of Generocity’s Tech in the Commons bootcamp, taking place on Monday April 30 at the Curtis Center.
For the TLDR types, here is a sneak peek at some of the lessons that will be discussed at the event:
- Be authentic and take advantage of staff who are already familiar with the game, or technology.
- Keep the pilot short—test and be prepared to move on.
- Consider the program’s limits, such as technical barriers for library users who don’t have smartphones, and tap into analog resources such as physical maps.
PSA: Germantown and Chinatown love tonight
Spring’s here! Really! What will you do? Two community celebrations are happening tonight in Germantown and Chinatown:
For the Love of Germantown! The 5th annual fundraiser for Germantown United CDC will include food, drink, dancing, and “a peek inside the historic Cunningham Piano Showroom Building, located at 5427 Germantown Avenue, now slated for redevelopment.” Germantown United recently won the extremely competitive national $150,000 grant contest to fix up two buildings historically significant in the African-American community. And of course…our hearts. Party tonight 6pm to 9pm at Cunningham Piano.
Get to know the Philadelphia Suns: Chinatown is bursting at the seams in search of public recreation space. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of families with children under 18 living within the neighborhood’s core census tract increased by 53 percent, Malcolm Burnley has reported for PlanPhilly. For generations, one of the crucial lifelines for immigrant Asian youth in Philadelphia has been the Philadelphia Suns, a local athletic and community service organization based in Chinatown. Get to know the Suns’ work at an all-ages gathering and meet local leaders from the volunteer-led, youth organization who have earned the recognition of President Obama’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 5pm to 7:30pm at Tango.