The metaverse is the next evolution of the internet focused on the integration of physical and digital experiences. For some, it is an online space meant to digitally recreate the real world. For others, it is a shift in how people can interact with their world, using technologies like 3D computing, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and blockchain to form new immersive virtual world experiences where digital information can be overlaid on our physical world. 

While the private sector has made the greatest strides in building the metaverse, governments are starting to engage with this emerging technology. Although it will be a while before any city manages to develop a fully functional virtual world, cities are already moving into the metaverse via digital city halls and other city operations. Further into the future, more advanced conceptions of the metaverse may be commonplace in our daily lives. 

As the technology evolves, city leaders have an exciting opportunity to play a part in how the metaverse comes to be. Staying informed, proactive and curious about how to engage with it is the critical first step. This brief gives local leaders and city staff a primer on what the metaverse is, how they can engage with it and what the future of municipal government might look like with this technology.