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Sponsored by the City of Santa Monica & DesignMatters at ArtCenter 

The Team: Margaux Reynolds, Shu Ou, Mariko Sanchez, Ashley Cheou

The goal of this project was to develop a concept that communicates the findings of and brings awareness to the Wellbeing Project, a study led by the City of Santa Monica to encourage policy change in order to improve the lives of Santa Monica residents.

How Do You Communicate the Wellbeing

of Santa Monica to its Stakeholders?

Santa Monica

Santa Monica Santa Monica is a coastal city west of downtown Los Angeles.  It has a reputation as an idyllic beach town.  It's neighborhoods are diverse, and the community has a  long history of gentrification.

The Wellbeing Project


In 2013, the City of Santa Monica won a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant to develop an index to assess the wellbeing of its community,  in collaboration with the Rand Corporation, Brookings Institution and New Economic Foundation.

Learn more about the Wellbeing project:

The Index


This index analyzes six dimensions of life in Santa Monica that contribute to personal and community wellbeing.


How we view the future.


Physical, social & emotional health.


How our environment affects us.


Safe, connected, engaged 


Economic Opportunity

The ability to

live and thrive.


Opportunity to develop and grow.

Strengths & Weaknesses


The findings reflect a 2200-person survey of residents, separated by ZIP code, which pinpoint the strengths and weakness of their constituents.

Map of Santa Monica neighborhoods

Going Forward

Hoping the findings will lead to meaningful policy change, the office of Civic Wellbeing collaborated with ArtCenter to develop a tool to communicate the index to constituents.

Putting Data into Context

We visited different ZIP codes in Santa Monica to understand the characteristics and demographics of each areas, to make sense of the findings in the environment.

The Challenge

The index provide insights that allow residents to understand their community. But these findings are not presented in a manner that is clear.

How can we make this information easier to understand?

A Board Game Designed to Communicate Data

SAMOpoly uses data from the findings of the Wellbeing Project as a narrative, employing a systems-thinking approach to the data showing the interrelationship of actions among constituents.

The board game is organized by ZIP code, to reflect the index

Streets are color-coded by dimension to link findings.

Communicates the interrelationship of actions among constituents. 



Players roll the dice to move through each zip code in Santa Monica



Land on a space and take the action on the corresponding card.



Actions from other players can benefit or cost other players points



Collect or lose wellbeing points to increase personal wellbeing index

The Players


The player with the highest personal wellbeing index wins

Watch The Game

Our game was played by city officials and local residents at the Santa Monica Pico Branch community center.

Creating Multiple Touchpoints

Part of our brief was to communicate the concept across different mediums.  We integrated our board game into both digital (social media) and physical (scale installation) experiences.  

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