A serious game that simulates social, economic, public health and cultural dynamics of urban youth gangs in Chicago (where I live and work).
Designed for members and victims of gangs; and for social services, educational institutions and government agencies whose staff are professionally concerned with gang enterprise.
The simulation develops coping, survival and management skills; deepens vision, understanding and empathy; and generates new insights into the cultural anthropology of neighborhoods plagued by poverty and crime.
My design of this game is mentored by Clark Abt, a father of serious games and simulations who teaches at Harvard and Brandeis. My students at Elmhurst College will contribute R&D by participating in a game design practicum hosted by the School for Professional Studies. Inner-city students in Chicago Public Schools will be offered design internships to spawn professional skills and career paths. Eminent faculty at the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Columbia University will provide formal subject-matter expertise.
The impact of this simulation may be significant, since it addresses one of the most persistent and costly problems in American cities in a novel technological way that is highly appropriate to the subject matter. The impact may be deeply felt because the simulation is topically situated in a city (Chicago) where the real-life problem of urban gangs is particularly severe.
If OSTP can provide guidance on potential grant funding and other government resources for this project, I and my colleagues will be extremely grateful.