The Stanford Design School sent a bunch of well-intentioned, electronics-supplied kids to the Tenderloin recently. Their mission: design a game inspired by the Tenderloin. Admittedly, the assignment was “arguably one of the toughest” in the program since it combined serious issues like homelessness and drug addiction with an unserious medium. The students came up with a few interesting things. Firstly, they created this pretty cool but hard-to-navigate Google map of photos they took in the ‘hood. Secondly, they came up with games inside of two weeks. The games ranged from the serious (ADDICTION… can you escape?) to the social (6 Degrees or Less). You can read about the rest of the projects here.

To do this project, Stanford partnered with the Grey Area Foundation for the Arts and private sector consultants. I was glad to hear about kids from Stanford coming out to the Tenderloin to explore, but I couldn’t help but wonder if for the next assignment, the kids could design a tool to help Tenderloin residents, especially the poor and those with limited English skills. Regardless, the project was a nice first step, and I’d look forward to seeing Stanford’s future involvement with the Tenderloin, even if all it does it help educate kids that the Tenderloin has art, amazing restaurants, families, culture, and a rich history in addition to the much-maligned drug trade.