When it was released in July of 2016, the augmented reality game Pokémon Go took the world by storm. By getting people out of their homes to hunt for Pokémon in parks and along city streets, the game has been heralded as fuel for improving cities. Now, Niantic—the game’s creator—wants to make that status official.
The company has just partnered with the Knight Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting journalism, arts, and engaged communities. Over the next several years, they’ll work together to leverage the power of Pokémon to get even more citizens out into their communities during city-organized events.
The first such confab is planned for May 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a Knight Open Streets event will be augmented by a city-curated route of 16 existing PokéStops and two Gyms. The stops will entice players into areas like a rose garden and veteran’s park, designed to highlight special community spaces and instill a sense of civic pride.
“That’s a small thing, to discover a nook or cranny of your city...but that small thing magnified by lots and lots of people is really significant,” said Niantic CEO John Hanke in an interview with Co.Design. “So we’re going to keep working on our side to cause that to happen more often.”