Let’s play CITOPOLY!

Let's play CITOPOLY! The boardgame for overcoming institutional bottlenecks and delivering social value

Let’s play CITOPOLY! A valuable game for built environment practitioners.

CITOPOLY is accessible to all and sheds light on systemic, institutional, and societal issues facing built environment practitioners and the network of implementers in built environment projects (civil society, private sector, politicians, etc). It brings together different perspectives and nuances on obstacles faced in building societal vs institutional value and is a great conversation starter for how all of society can work together for better outcomes. Since it is based on learning from a project of case studies, it’s a great way to democratize knowledge and for people to absorb its key messages in a fun way.


Host: South African Cities Network

South Africa

Sithole Mbanga

Sithole has been with the South African Cities Network (SACN) since 2002. He is arguably one of the most knowledgeable people in the country about the journey that our current system of local government has travelled, and particularly the evolution of our municipalities. He has been a consistent advocate and informant of the urban development agenda for over a decade and has helped steadily grow the influence and contributions of the SACN to improving urban governance practice and analysis. 

Sithole was previously the Local Government Coordinator at the National Business Initiative (NBI), was involved with conducting capacity building training in Municipal Service Partnership (MSP), and participated in the development of the then National Department of Local Government’s (DPLG) national policy on Integrated Development Planning (IDP). 

Sithole’s contributions are well recognized in political and technical circles in South Africa. Reputed for a “no holds barred”, creative and dynamic approach to tackling issues, he has been continually sought after to advise municipal and party leadership, contribute to various Boards e.g. Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) and South African National Parks (SANPARKS), and speak at various engagements. He has contributed to strategic processes in various sectors (cooperative governance, human settlements, The Presidency), and is a clear thought leader in the urban sector. He was also part of the South African Local Government Transformation Programme (LGTP) that pioneered the new system of local government in democratic South Africa and is the nominated Deputy Secretary General of the Pan African body of local governments, the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Africa.

Rehana Moosajee

Rehana is a research associate at SACN and works closely with the Built Environment Integration programme. Rehana is passionate about people, places, potential and planet. She is committed to creativity, collaboration and connection. She has been invited to various local and international platforms to
share from the heart. Her assignments have included amongst others: wellbeing economies, food systems, eco-mobility, place-maki ng and staying connected to nature in rapidly urbanising contexts.

Rehana’s style is characterised by bringing the richness of her life experiences authentically into her work – from retreats in Rajasthan, to business principles from Bhutan to inter-faith/ inter-cultural tour of Turkey. She combines her professional training in education, with her years of community activism and a 13-year stint in local government with the deep learning she has gained from the opportunities that life has brought to her.

Kayla Brown

Kayla Brown is a project manager in the built environment programme, working in research to understand issues and dynamics affecting municipalities and their goals of achieving built environment transformation.

Siwe Ntombela

Siwe Ntombela is a researcher in the built environment integration programme at SACN. She is an urban planner, with an interest in the ability for community voices to be activated and fundamentally drive co-created spaces. 

Session Summary

The session Let’s Play Citopoly, hosted by Kayla Brown, Rehana Moosaje, Siwe Ntombela and Sithole Mbanga was as exciting as a real-life board game. The session opened with Rehana welcoming all the attendees and introducing herself as the facilitator of the session. Two of the session’s hosts, Kayla and Siwe, are also involved with Rehana at the Built Environment Program at the South Africa Cities Network (SACN). The CEO of the SACN were invited to introduce the context of the work done at SACN in relation to the game of Citopoly. SACN promotes experience and best practices on urban development and city management. This network enhances the ability of decision-makers and city practitioners.

The game of Citopoly was born out of an initiative to find interesting ways to communicate research and to get people to engage with the focus on municipal practitioners and municipal politicians. A fun and practical way of discovering just why cities and local governments operate as they do and what can be done to make them implement projects more effectively. And what a different yet interesting way to encourage thought-provoking conversations. Like Rehana said, “Anything can happen in Citopoly!”

Let the games begin! Three breakout rooms were busy deciding on team names before the game will start. During the play of Citopoly quotes were read based on real-life dialogues that took place. Each quote also had a consequence. These consequences determined if your “city” will grow or be broken down. After the play of Citopoly, an enlightening conversation took place between the hosts and attendees as thoughts and experiences were given rise to during the play of Citopoly.