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Governments are using games to engage citizens — but beware before you play. In China, citizens are carefully watched and ranked for trustworthiness, and can be denied public services for bad behaviour. Intrusive experiments with gamification pose a danger to citizens, warns a leading expert.
International experts love Sweden’s sex-ed curriculum. 96% of students don’t. Students say gender issues like sexual assault are scarcely covered. Reports suggest teachers are uncomfortable discussing these topics because just one in 10 receives formal training in sex-ed.
Top Writing From Our Members
Move over, GDP: Global happiness rankings are the metric of the future. From New Zealand to Dubai, governments are moving beyond economic growth as a measure of a nation’s value and progress. But it’s not easy to map, measure and manage an emotion.
(Jessica Pykett, Lecturer of Human Geography, University of Birmingham)
In Australia, we’re taking a different path to close our pay gap. Rather than enforcing pay transparency laws like the UK and Iceland, the government partners with employers to provide advice and education. 38% of Australia’s managers are women, and their numbers are steadily rising.
(Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency)
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Governance and Citizen Engagement
New Delhi is delivering public services to people’s doorsteps. Its new home visit scheme lets citizens skip the lines and bribes often associated with trips to government offices. ‘Dealing with government has turned from hell into heaven,’ said one citizen.
No cash for bus fare in Istanbul? Just recycle a plastic bottle. Public transit users can top up their fare card by depositing plastic containers into one of the city’s new waste transfer machines. The credit can be used across the public transit system and for other municipal services.
The New York Public Library is loaning out ties, briefcases and handbags. The goal of the ‘dress up lending library’ is to give low-income New Yorkers free, easy access to formal attire for job interviews. It also offers workshops on how to apply for jobs and dress for interviews.
Energy, Environment and Economic Opportunity
Paris will go car-free for a day. It’s the third year the city has temporarily banned cars in a bid to show Parisians it’s possible to get around the city without one. Anyone who gives up their vehicle will get $700 to buy a bike, sign up for a car-sharing service or get a public transit pass.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Gamification might be the only escape we can find in this age, where mistrust in government is so prevalent” — Gianluca Sgueo, author of Games, Power and Democracies
Potsdam, Germany is running the world’s first autonomous tram. The 250-person vehicle runs on renewable energy, and is helmed by a driver who can intervene if anything goes wrong. The city said it won’t lead to job losses as drivers can take on other roles, such as helping people with disabilities board.
Safety and Justice
Every Zambian citizen received a text alert asking them to report online child abuse. The message encouraged them to use a new government portal where illegal images and videos can be flagged anonymously. It’s the ninth African country to introduce a nationwide reporting mechanism for child abuse.
Coming to a store near you: North Korea’s state-owned makeup brand. Under a directive from Kim Jong-un to manufacture the world’s best cosmetics, the Unhasu factory produces over 300 products, which are exported to Russia, China and Iran. It claims to be ‘neck and neck’ with luxury brands Chanel and Shiseido.
(Picture credit: Pexels)