The aim of the project was to explain the Council’s budget setting process to the general public in a playful and accessible way and drive informed participation in the Council’s end-of-year public consultation. We took inspiration from 8-bit games, conceptualising citizens as active participants and riffing on Birmingham’s hallmarks to create a condensed cityscape. Forward City allowed audiences to be gently informed about local politics whilst taking a walk through their ‘city’.
Alongside co-developing the design direction, I focused on writing the narrative script, beginning by researching and understanding the way the council spent its money. I then translated this into a complete text, balancing accessibility, storytelling and factual accuracy. We aligned the text with design devices used in the installation to structure a journey and experience for audiences. Studio Danmole designed and produced the physical structure, whilst the Doink* team installed and facilitated Forward City as it popped up around Birmingham before the Council’s public consultation in 2019.