Pokemon GO

Additional Charlotte Reflections

Additional Observations and Provocations

(These are not included in the official report.)

Distinctive City Feature: PokéWalk

What the Organizers Did: 

Charlotte officials and Niantic staff created a “PokéWalk,” by linking together 16 PokéStops and two gyms along a three-mile route between two parks with access to 11 neighborhoods. Blue Pokéball stencils were sprayed onto the sidewalk and the mission for players were to snap a photograph of each stop, either within the game’s augmented camera feature or their regular cellphone camera. Scott Curry, who designed the walk, believed the game held educational value for the people of Charlotte. He aimed to align the PokéStops with “historic landmarks, or nice community parks, or some new infrastructure that the city had just installed”, as a way to inform and galvanize excitement in residents about the future plans for their city.

Example of one of the city’s blue Poké Balls.

Special Recruiting (of Player-Participants):

For the city, Pokémon GO turned out to be another channel for outreach — just like radio or print.  The city also  published press releases online and in local print media, conducted bilingual outreach with “ads running on Spanish language radio stations and in Spanish newspapers”, and held meetings with neighborhood associations. Community partners included upwards of twenty local organizations, which provided in-kind donations and/or planning support. A multitude of sectors were represented: bike share companies, healthcare companies, financial organizations, law enforcement, a diverse collective of governmental, non-governmental, and private institutions.