Community unrest.

Today David, David and I created ‘Community Garden’ (or ‘Martin’s Massive Melons’).

We have a list of possible settings (ocean liner, island…) and we have a growing bank of mechanisms (dice, discussion, sliders…) and we have a collection of aims and cognitive attitudes – things that can be promoted and strengthened through modelling.
We chose our setting and cognitive attitude at random. David Shaw (hereafter David) suggested that David F (hereafter Finig) and I both pick a number between 1 and 10. Finig picked 10, I picked 6. 16. David counted down to number 16 on the list and we landed on ‘commune’ and a cognitive attitude about acknowledging mistakes.
We had 90 minutes to create a model to test on Nathan and Nikki. We discussed the possible ideals of a commune such as sustainable living, being ‘off the grid’, yielding crops without modern technology, etc. After some realisation that we knew little about farming, we narrowed our setting down to a community garden.

What are we aiming for in our community garden model? We want the community to be engaged and happy with their efforts.

We decided that the players would begin the game by choosing 5 rules for the community garden. There was a sort of ‘on’ and ‘off’ for each rule.

– No fences/fences

– No pesticides/pesticides are allowed

– no minimum contribution/4 hours work minimum per week

– disputes are solved within the community/a chairperson is elected to solve disputes

– no membership fee/mandatory membership fee

We had 4 characters in our game. Each character had an idea of how the community garden should operate, and has particular rules that they would not abide.

Game Play:
Players set the rules.
If a character has a problem with 2 or more of the rules, they speak up.
Once the characters have spoken, the rules may be changed.
If a character has a problem with 2 of more of the rules, they speak up.
Once the characters have spoken, the rules may be changed.
and so on and so forth until a happy medium is reached.

If a character has spoken twice about the same issues (ie they have not been resolved) then they leave the community garden. While this is not desirable as it means a community member no longer wants to be a part of the garden, it makes it easier to balance the needs of everyone else as there are less needs to be considered.
Characters had personalities that affected game play. Questions about effective strategies for community gardens were raised. Individual preferences from players (and game makers) were emerging. It was stressful at times. Just as I imagine a community garden would be.

It brought up for me questions that I think relates to a lot of models and particularly participatory co-models. Questions about emotional involvement and how it can cast shadows. Questions about getting involved in a model that you don’t think has an outcome, or that you don’t feel attached to because it might not have a real world impact at the conclusion.
I have no real answers to these questions (which are more ponderings than questions, really).

– Rachel


About Rachel


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