You can call it an exercise or a group learning activity, but I like to call it a game. After all, it’s got all the elements of a game: A game board (map), pieces, play money and mystery and intrigue. I’m referring to Red Dirt Monopoly, which is a learning tool we developed here at ACOG to teach people a little bit about the transportation planning process.
Red Dirt Monopoly is designed to educate Central Oklahomans about the transportation planning process, planning with a budget (financial constraint) and how to engage in the acts of compromise and concession. Mostly, it’s a fun way to learn about regional planning and how funding can be allocated.
The game board is actually a map of the Oklahoma City Area Regional Transportation Study (OCARTS), which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s planning area. Each game can be played with four to eight players, who start with a set amount of funding and can work individually or with the other players to allocate the funds on transportation products, such as roads, bridges, signals and public transportation options.
It takes about an hour to run through the whole exercise, and the games end when the money is exhausted or time has run out. We always like to engage with each team to find out their motivations, obstacles, what they learned and how their plan turned out. This is my favorite part of the program because as many times as we have conducted this exercise, the outcomes are always different.
In January, ACOG staff played Red Dirt Monopoly with the Youth Council of Oklahoma City, a group of high school students from all over the city (each ward) who come together once a month to learn about the challenges and successes of local government. The program is sponsored by the City of Oklahoma City and administered by Youth Leadership Exchange/a>, a program of Leadership Oklahoma City.
Red Dirt Monopoly is available free to civic, church and social groups. We can accommodate groups from 10 to 25 people. It takes an hour to fully organize and we’ll need plenty of advance notice so we can arrange and schedule game masters. If you would like to play the game with us, contact me at 234-2264 or via email at JChurch@ACOGOK.org.