Young Queenslanders with a competitive spirit and a hunch they can give town planners a run for their money could pocket a $2,500 first prize from an innovative competition launching today.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is offering $2,500 each to the primary school and high school-aged students who build the best community, balancing realistic economic, environmental and community factors.
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam said the “Better Communities” competition encourages students to design their perfect community.
“The competition is creative, educational and community-minded. It’s an exciting extension of the Better Communities simulation game the LGAQ developed with award-winning Queensland game development studio Bail! Enemy Jet and local comms experts Articulous,” Mr Hallam said.
“The purpose of the game is to create and build up your ideal community, so you end up with one where people are happy and healthy, trust their local authority, have job opportunities and recreational options, with the added challenge of not blowing your budget as you go along.
“Better Communities uses familiar Australian architecture and landscape and puts the player in charge of every aspect of civic life, presenting real world challenges and consequences.”
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said planning a community would extend and expand students’ skills, from organisation and design, to planning and building.
“This is a terrific opportunity to create one person’s ideal community and it will be very interesting to see what the students come up with,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said planning was an essential part of everyone’s life, whether they contributed to or benefited from it.
“This is a wonderful idea and may the best student win,” Mr Dick said.
Mr Hallam said with school, sport and social routines disrupted by the coronavirus lockdown, the competition aimed to provide a welcome distraction for students while harnessing their creativity.
“The LGAQ wanted to contribute something positive for kids and their families during this difficult period, and the thinking behind the competition is that it combines a productive and entertaining activity, with the added appeal of generous prizes for the winning entrants,” Mr Hallam said.
“And, who knows, the competition might encourage the next generation of town planners and civic leaders.
“We’re hoping children and teenagers from all over Queensland will take up the challenge.”
Mr Hallam said an expert panel will judge the winning entries using a set of criteria based on the game’s indicators and ranking of players’ work and creativity.
Young people can enter multiple times or focus on fine-tuning a single entry.
The competition will run until the end of Term 2 – 5pm Friday June 26 – with the winners to be announced on Friday July 3.