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Progress with digital re-blocking tool

After winning the Serious About Games competition in April 2017, Ikhayalami Development Services has made significant progress with the implementation of its digital re-blocking tool.

Launched by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and supported by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative and  the Craft and Design Initiative (CDI), the competition called for development practitioners and game specialists to develop a digital game that could help impoverished communities. Ikhayalami and Renderheads combined forces and put forward an idea for a digital puzzle game based on the re-bocking concept, winning R1 million to take the development of the idea forward. Ikhayalami and Renderheads have since set up a social enterprise called REBLOK which has developed a digital tool for re-blocking. REBLOK aims to develop any urban planning/upgrading scenario into a participatory planning digital tool for use by communities, non-governmental organisations and municipalities. Any of these parties can receive support in creating a digital participative tool that can be adapted to any developmental agenda.

For the purpose of the competition and for Ikhayalami’s immediate work the digital tool was developed to help augment participative planning for the reconfiguration of the spatial layout for AT Section in Khayelitsha. Once the game was developed it was launched live in the settlement in March 2018. Seven teams comprising four players each played the ‘game’ over a three week period culminating in each team spending approximately 30 hours per layout iteration. The result was seven reconfigured layouts completed by community members with the game having helped spur numerous discussions, including door to door community engagements at least two community meetings, during the course of the game to resolve issues. After completion the teams were able to motivate their layouts and the top three iterations were identified culminating in the winners being chosen.

The Ikhayalami technical team has refined the ideas from these three layouts to develop a proposal that will be presented to a design team from the community comprising 10 of the game players that the community identified to form part of the layout refinement team. Once agreed the approved layout will be implemented. 

Written by: Andy Bolnick

Photo: Andy Bolnick/Ikhayalami 


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Sharing the common goal of promoting participatory, effective, accountable and pro-poor local governance, the network strives to provide an interface for civil society organisations to network and share information towards strengthening local democracy in South Africa.