South African Cities Network is a membership based NPO of Metropolitan Municipalities + Msunduzi who do research in relation to  city governance and development. Citopoly is based on the work of the Built Environment Integration Task Team – City practitioners working on built Environment Integration projects who are grappling with transformation of space and society in democracy. 4 cities put forward 4 case studies of different scale and proportion. Zanemvula in Nelson Mandela Bay, Mabopane Precinct Hub in Tshwane, Cornubia in eThekwini and Paterson Park in Johannesburg. The research was not an evaluation of the projects but rather an attempt to understand the internal workings between departments in a city, between spheres of government and between municipalities and communities. Given that most people are too busy to read the research team were looking for creative ways to engage the research findings and CITOPOLY was born. The game consists of actual practitioner quotes from experience and each quote has a consequence. The aim of the game is to build towers – one represents institutional value the other societal value. There are 4 themes emerging from the report which are covered in the game: Leadership/ Interaction/ Rules of the Institution and Skills and Capacity. The game aims to show that our cities are being hamstrung by the obsession with supply chain management, clean audits and financial indicators whilst trust is being eroded with society. Also that the performance systems are measuring silo mentality whilst articulating the need for collaboration. Despite this – many practitioners are delivering against the odds. The launch also showcased practitioner profiles understanding the men and women who work in these institutions and what gets them up in the mornings. The launch event was called Play It Forward! We had the mayor of NMB addressing people who were flopping into bean bags, the mayor playing Citopoly with members of the community and the mayor creating a t shirt slogan and hanging it on a waving line. The entire launch event was aimed at showing an alternative way of having authentic conversation.

You may view the  BEI Practice Report here:

More video’s can be viewed here:

Rehana is a research associate at the South African Cities Network. She is part of the team that supports city practitioners who are members of the Built Environment Integration Task Team grappling with transforming space in post apartheid SA. The team are on an incredible journey together. Find out more through these videos and reports. Also if you are interested in playing Citopoly feel free to contact South African Cities Network.