Rebuilding by video game?

Rebuilding by video game?

Why not? Introducing Magnetic South, an online idea-generating game designed to help people explore the future of Christchurch together, and the shape its redevelopment might take. And as of next week you have the chance to do your bit by participating in the game, which will run non-stop for a little over 24 hours. A Landcare Research initiative, the game was originally scheduled to launch on Tuesday this week,  but with spell of aftershocks that hit the region, it was decided to postpone the event until Friday 24 June.

Bob Frame, principal scientist (sustainability and society) at Landcare Research says this week's aftershocks make it even more important for people to participate. So far close to 1000 people have registered for the game. 

The platform for the game was developed in Silicon Valley by Institute for the Future, and adapted for use in Christchurch. Frame says this is the first time the platform has run in a New Zealand public domain and, if successful, will lead to more games on the Christchurch rebuild.

The Magnetic South initiative is one of the ideas to spurn from Christchurch City Council’s Share an Idea website, which provides a forum for people to post ideas which are shared world-wide to stimulate more ideas and ongoing conversations regarding future development of the Central City Plan. 

“Whether you have five hours or five minutes, you can help explore what the future will be like, and what this will mean for the decisions we make for our city,” says the Magentic South website. “Draw on the collected knowledge and creativity of everyone playing to spotlight unexpected challenges, and help reveal new solutions to keep Christchurch vibrant and thriving in the next few decades.” 

Mayor Bob Parker also shared his thoughts on the game:

“What makes this event different is that it’s a discussion—we are hoping to get input from around the city and around the world—and we’ll be looking at the city from a future perspective," comments Parker. "The decisions our forebears made in the 1800s, creating Hagley Park and the grid layout of our streets for example, continue to impact us today, and it’s important the decisions we make in redeveloping Christchurch also stand the test of time."

Magnetic South is taking place on Friday 24 June at 9am and will run until midday, Saturday 25 June. To find out more or to participate, head along to

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