Magnetic South - Exploring a future for Christchurch together

Magnetic South: an online discussion game

Magnetic South was an online idea-generating game designed to help people explore the future together. Whether players had five hours or five minutes, they could explore what the future would be like, and what this might mean for the decisions made for the city.  It drew on the collected knowledge and creativity of everyone playing to spotlight unexpected challenges, and help reveal new solutions to keep Christchurch vibrant and thriving in the next few decades.  

When did Magnetic South take place?

It ran from 9 am Friday 24 June through the night to nearly noon on Saturday 25 June.
It was free to play and took place, right here, at

Magnetic South (Landcare Research) from IFTF on Vimeo.

As Christchurch recovers from its earthquakes, key decisions will shape the city well into the future. But how do we know what will be needed in twenty or thirty years from now?

In 1981, hardly anyone would have guessed that the internet would be central to how we do business and keep in touch; apartment living was something that we associated with Manhattan and Chicago, not Merivale and central Christchurch; and we didn't think twice about the price of petrol. With so much change and uncertainty, how we can make sure what we put in place now continues to make Christchurch attractive – a magnet – for the future.

Game over

The interest and engagement with this game was outstanding and generated a wide array of ideas and possibilities for the future of Christchurch. If you'd like to see how things progressed, have a look at this visualisation of the most detailed conversations (chain reactions of ideas) or check out the archived game site.

We are releasing the data under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License. Also the Magnetic South blog will update you on where we will take this conversation. We would love to see people use the data to create their own visualisations and analyses. Feel free to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this dataset. We just ask that you give appropriate credit to Landcare Research and the Institute for the Future for the data. Download the data here.

The Foresight Engine:

Magnetic South is one of the Share an Idea suite of initiatives. It is being run on the ‘Foresight Engine’, a platform created by the world-leading Institute for the Future to support people thinking together about issues that are important to them in a way that is both productive and fun.

The Foresight Engine is a crowd-sourcing national conversation that has been developed with the Institute for the Future in the US. A previous pilot was undertaken in July 2010 and presented 5000 ideas in 24 hours on the topic of energy and water, called E=H20. (watch E=H20 video)

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