The EMPATIA project offers a testing platform based on a role-playing game and participation simulator to experiment with participatory systems in a safe environment, called Empaville. Empaville integrates in-person deliberation with digital voting and was formulated to expose participants to critical issues common to the participatory budgeting and discuss the process in both methodological and practical terms.

Empaville is a game that mimics the flow of a hybrid (i.e. online and offline) participatory budgeting with a particular focus on login, voting, and data visualization. Each participant role-plays a resident or a worker of Empaville, a fictitious city designed to simulate the typical conflicts of a modern city. Empaville is a guided experience that starts with small group discussion on the problem of the city, followed by project proposal and voting.


Empaville sessions

Empaville, as a learning tool, allows participants to test the use of technology in a closer to reality scenario of participatory budgeting. Through surveys conducted by EMPATIA team, Empaville participants argued that it is safer to have these experiments as a game, in order to test all the fragilities that should be avoided in the real situations. Through the slogan “learning by failing” Empaville shows an exceptional potentiality not only as modular UX platform, but also as a learning experience, recognizing that failures, conflict, and difficulties often offer the best lessons. Empaville has also an adapted teaching tool version for middle school students, which has been implemented in over 20 schools across Portugal.

List of Empaville sessions

4th International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in North America – 1st Empaville session 22/05/16 Boston, USA
EMPATIA National Workshop in UK 02/06/16 London, UK
Empaville session at the festival della Partecipazione L’Aquila 07/07/16 L’Aquila, Italy
Empaville during Summer school in Olhão: Collaborative Environments 19/09/16 Olhão, Portugal
Conference on Participatory Budgeting & EMPAVILLE session 20/09/16 Pantelleria, Italy
EMPAVILLE session @ “Italia a 5 Stelle” M5S meeting 26/09/16 Palermo, Italy
Empaville School – Porto 16/01/17 Porto, Portugal
Fórum Regional RAP – Cascais 18/01/17 Cascais, Portugal
Empaville during the DSI Fair 2017 01/02/17 Rome, Italy
Empaville School – Pereira 07/02/17 Pereira, Portugal
Empaville School – Caldas da Rainha 08/02/17 Caldas Da Rainha, Portugal
Empaville School Águeda 09/02/17 Águeda, Portugal
Il gioco di Empaville per conoscere il bilancio partecipativo 09/02/17 Vigolzone, Italy
Fórum Regional RAP – North 23/02/17 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Internal workshop (Municipality of Ferrara) 10/03/17 Ferrara, Italy
Fórum Regional RAP – Madeira 16/03/17 Funchal, Portugal
Empaville during Digital Democracy Day 23/03/17 Southampton, UK
Fórum Regional RAP – South 06/04/17 Faro, Portugal
Fórum Regional RAP – Açores 20/04/17 Ponta Delgada, Portugal
Political party event (Five Star Movement) 22/04/17 Melegnano, Italy
Empaville during Orçamentos Participativos em Portugal e na Suécia 03/05/17 Lisboa, Portugal
Fórum Regional RAP – Centre 17/05/17 Águeda, Portugal
Empaville during the Participedia Summer School 12/06/17 Montréal, Canada
The role-playing game Empaville for School at International Conference “Democracy and Participation in the 21st Century” 12/07/17 Lisboa, Portugal
Empaville during 2ND CAPS Community Workshop 12/07/17 Volos, Greece
Presentation of EMPATIA and Empaville at the Festival “Jardins Efémeros” in Viseu 15/07/17 Viseu, Portugal
Empaville: gamification per la creazione dei bilanci partecipativi 19/10/17 Milan, Italy
Empaville session at the 6th edition of “Encontro de Quadros da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa” 23/11/17 Lisbon, Portugal
Workshop on the new forms of participatory democracy for the French city of Créteil 25/11/17 Paris, France
Empaville School CES 05/12/17 Coimbra, Portugal
Empaville session with Grenoble city hall members 30/06/18 Grenoble, France
Read more in our Final Progress report