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A board game to communicate the wellbeing of a city.

The team: Ashley Cheou, Margaux Reynolds, Mariko Sanchez, Shu Ou.

Sponsored by ArtCenter Designmatters

Collaborated with City of Santa Monica - The Office of Civic Wellbeing

How can we humanize data and improve the wellbeing of a city?

The Wellbeing Project

In 2013, City of Santa Monica launched the Wellbeing Project, in which they partnered with the RAND Corporation and data experts worldwide to measure the wellbeing of their residents. 

Learn more about The Wellbeing Project

How to measure wellbeing?

Using 6 critical dimensions, the Wellbeing team collected a 2200-person survey of residents. Separating this data by ZIP code, the team created a library of the findings which pinpoint the problems from their constituents.

The start of a collaboration

Hoping to utilize this information which might later on allow useful policies to happen, the Wellbeing team collaborated with ArtCenter to see how the Wellbeing index can be turned into something feasible.

Understanding the data in the environment

We visited different ZIP codes in Santa Monica to understand the data. This gave us a better sense of the characteristics and demographics in each geographical area of the city, and how well the findings reflect the people.

People we met in Santa Monica, including local businesses, longtime residents, people who work there and frequent visitors. Thanks for sharing the insights!


Excerpts from interviews which related to the Wellbeing Index:

“I think the idea of caring for your neighbor does not exist in younger people.”
“I can’t afford to live here anymore.”
“Local government? I don’t really know who it is”
“I used to know all the people, the guy at the gas station, the mechanic...”
“I want to contribute to my local community.”
“But just so many tourists come here too.” 

Santa Monica is diverse, isolated and has a long history of gentrification.

The Index could give the residents a head start to understand each other.

The index findings provide great insights to allow residents from diverse backgrounds to understand their community and the city. However, this information is too dense and hard to digest.

SAMOpoly is a board game to communicate the findings from The Wellbeing Index.

Inspired by Monopoly, the project used game lingo and rules to show the interrelationship and facts of these findings.

Organized by ZIP Code just as the index. 
Use color code to highlight different dimensions of wellbeing.
Show the interrelationship of different stakeholders.

Are you The Big Blue Bus, The Breeze Bike, or the Ferris Wheel?

SAMOpoly debuted. Local stakeholders played the board game prototype.

Creating multiple touch points

Social Media

We also hacked the Pico Library and installed a life-size SAMOpoly. It’s a fun and engaging way to spread the information in public.

SAMOpoly joined The Wellbeing Launch Event

Learn more about The Wellbeing Project

and SAMOpoly from Designmatters

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