Games for Cities

#4
International City-Gaming Conference

20 - 21 April 2017

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The Games for Cities programme is hosting the first international conference with leading ‘city-game’ design experts from around the world. Games for Cities is an initiative started by Play the City and partners, and aims to create a platform for knowledge exchange on games that have the potential to facilitate more effective and inclusive city-making. The conference will be held in Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Instituut and is open to the public.

City-games are increasingly prevalent in the daily work of policy-makers, regulators, urban designers, smart city experts and architects. The Games for Cities programme contributes to this maturing field of city-making in two ways: by generating a critical and holistic overview of implemented city games, and by encouraging city-game designers to work closely with local governments. Organised by Play the City and partners in close collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut, this conference aims to bring Dutch city-gaming practices and international best practices into closer contact with one another.

This promises to be an intriguing conference with keynotes on how city-gaming is the future of city-making, as well as numerous city-game break-out sessions to experience this future for yourselves. You will get the chance to meet Paolo Pedercini from Molleindustria, Urban Think Tank’s Alfredo Brillembourg, Boston-based social designer Eric Gordon from Emerson’s Engagement Lab, The Why Factory’s Felix Madrazo, and Ekim Tan from Play the City as the invited speakers at the conference. During the conference, 10 internationally active city-game developers will be present to run game sessions. Among these city-games are the future scenario building of refugee saturated Jordanian cities, playful renewable energy platforms for citizens, urban water games, and games that confront our own egos and identities regarding increasing urban densities.

We are proud to announce that the Mayor of Rotterdam, Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb, will open the conference on Day 2. Partners of Games for Cities and Play the City are the Amsterdam University of Applied Science’s Play and Civic Media Lab, Utrecht University’s New Media Studies, TU Delft’s The Why Factory, and The Mobile City whose work will be featured during the conference. The Dutch Cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven have brought in and financed three Games for Cities cases, which will be explored in the conference.

The Games for Cities program has been made possible by the generous contributions of the Creative Industries Fund NL, as well as the three Municipalities mentioned above. The visit of the two keynote speakers Paolo Pedercini (Molleindustria) and Prof. Eric Gordon (Engagement Lab) is made possible with the help of Het Nieuwe Instituut with support by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

20 - 21 April 2017

Buy tickets here

FaceBook event page

The Games for Cities programme is hosting the first international conference with leading ‘city-game’ design experts from around the world. Games for Cities is an initiative started by Play the City and partners, and aims to create a platform for knowledge exchange on games that have the potential to facilitate more effective and inclusive city-making. The conference will be held in Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Instituut and is open to the public.

City-games are increasingly prevalent in the daily work of policy-makers, regulators, urban designers, smart city experts and architects. The Games for Cities programme contributes to this maturing field of city-making in two ways: by generating a critical and holistic overview of implemented city games, and by encouraging city-game designers to work closely with local governments. Organised by Play the City and partners in close collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut, this conference aims to bring Dutch city-gaming practices and international best practices into closer contact with one another.

This promises to be an intriguing conference with keynotes on how city-gaming is the future of city-making, as well as numerous city-game break-out sessions to experience this future for yourselves. You will get the chance to meet Paolo Pedercini from Molleindustria, Urban Think Tank’s Alfredo Brillembourg, Boston-based social designer Eric Gordon from Emerson’s Engagement Lab, The Why Factory’s Felix Madrazo, and Ekim Tan from Play the City as the invited speakers at the conference. During the conference, 10 internationally active city-game developers will be present to run game sessions. Among these city-games are the future scenario building of refugee saturated Jordanian cities, playful renewable energy platforms for citizens, urban water games, and games that confront our own egos and identities regarding increasing urban densities.

We are proud to announce that the Mayor of Rotterdam, Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb, will open the conference on Day 2. Partners of Games for Cities and Play the City are the Amsterdam University of Applied Science’s Play and Civic Media Lab, Utrecht University’s New Media Studies, TU Delft’s The Why Factory, and The Mobile City whose work will be featured during the conference. The Dutch Cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven have brought in and financed three Games for Cities cases, which will be explored in the conference.

The Games for Cities program has been made possible by the generous contributions of the Creative Industries Fund NL, as well as the three Municipalities mentioned above. The visit of the two keynote speakers Paolo Pedercini (Molleindustria) and Prof. Eric Gordon (Engagement Lab) is made possible with the help of Het Nieuwe Instituut with support by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Conference Schedule
Day 1

20 April 2017

19:30 Welcome and introduction by Dr. Ekim Tan
19.45 Keynote opening speaker: Paolo Pedercini, Molleindustria
20:15 Colloquy discussion involving audience Moderator: Dr. Michiel de Lange
21:00 End (Bar open)

Day 2

21 April 2017
09:30 Doors Open + Coffee
10:00 Opening with Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb
10:10 Launch of the ‘Play the City’ book
10:20 Introduction: Dr. Ekim Tan
10:30 Keynote: Prof. Eric Gordon, Engagement Lab
11:00 Case 1: An Inclusive Utrecht
11:15 Colloquy 1: Migration and City-Games
11:45 Break-out Session: 15 City-Games running in parallel by their designers in groups of 15-25

12:45-13:45 Lunch Break

13:45 Guest speaker: Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg, Urban Think Tank
14:15 Case 2: A Circular Amsterdam
14:30 Colloquy 2: Circularity and City-Games
15:00 Break-out Session: 15 City Games running in parallel by their developers in groups of 15-25

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 Guest speaker: Felix Madrazo, Inter.National.Design
17:15 Case 3: A data-driven Eindhoven
17:30 Coloquy 3: Data, Information, Knowledge and City Games
18:00 Closing speaker

18:30 Drinks

Acclaimed Speakers

1.

Paolo Pedercini

Paolo Pedercini is a game designer specialising in social critique through apparently simple casual video games, where he integrates digital storytelling and game-based mechanics with the discursive genres of satire and propaganda. He currently teaches media production and an experimental game design class at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has lectured in several universities across Europe and the USA. He is the founder of Molleindustria, a project of re-appropriation of videogames that since 2003 has excelled in the creation of products testing the boundaries of gaming. With games ranging from satirical business simulations (McDonald’s Video game, Oiligarchy) to meditations on labor and alienation (Every day the same dream, To Build a Better Mousetrap, Unmanned), and from playable theories (the Free Culture Game, Leaky World) to politically incorrect pseudo-games (Orgasm Simulator, Faith Fighter) — a politically charged message is what ties them together. Although his work exists primarily online, it has been exhibited internationally at festivals, galleries and museums including the Sundance Festival, the EMP Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Hammer Museum, Games for Change, Gwangju Design Biennale, Indiecade, FILE Brazil, LABoral, and ZKM. Molleindustria received broad international coverage by major media publishers such as The Guardian, BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Times, and many others. His latest game, Nova Alea – the first in a series of urban themed games – is set in a city torn apart by social inequality, as players are forced into the role of urban gentrifiers, shining a light on gentrification as a structural system of exclusion. His games urge players to think, exposing the dark-side of politics; and once played with, his messages are difficult to forget.

Paolo Pedercini, founder of Molleindustria, game design lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pensylvania

2.

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon is an Associate Professor and the founding director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College – an applied research lab on the future of civics. He is also a faculty affiliate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. His work focuses on games and playful engagement in civic life. He has designed games for organisations such as the UN Development Program, the International Red Cross / Red Crescent, and the World Bank, as well as municipal governments throughout the United States. He is the author of a number of articles and chapters on games, digital media, urbanism and civic engagement, as well as of two books: Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World (with Adriana de Souza e Silva) (Blackwell, 2011) and The Urban Spectator: American Concept Cities From Kodak to Google (Dartmouth, 2010). His edited volume (with Paul Mihailidis) entitled Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice (MIT Press, 2016) brings together over 50 scholars and practitioners interested in emergent civic practice. His most recent work focuses on how games and play can reshape urban governance.

Eric Gordon; Associate Professor and Director and founder of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College in Boston.

3.

Alfredo Brillembourg

Alfredo Brillembourg is an architect and lecturer, and co-founder of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) with Hubert Klumpner (in 1998). They have offices in both Caracas and Zurich, and regularly . He holds the position of guest professor at the University Jose Maria Vargas, the University Simon Bolivar and the Central University of Venezuela. He is also a guest professor at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning at Columbia University, where he co-founded the Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory (S.L.U.M. Lab), also with Hubert Klumpner. Since 2010, Brillembourg and Klumpner hold the chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Institute of Technology (Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. As co-principle of U-TT, Brillembourg has received the 2010 Ralph Erskine Award, the 2011 Holcim Gold Award for Latin America, the 2012 Holcim Global Silver Award for innovative contributions to ecological and social design practices, and the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture Golden Lion. He has presented at numerous international conferences, in Boston, Berlin, Caracas, Miami and Switzerland, and now in Rotterdam. He is interested in alternative forms of civic engagement in urban planning and architecture, and has been applying gaming methods in Cape Town’s largest informal settlement, Khayelitsha, as a way of broadening inclusion in the planning process. Recently he has been involved with developing a programme at ETH Zurich on gaming applications for tackling urgent urban issues. He is joined by architect, researcher and lecturer, Michael Walczak, whose main focuses are on digital technologies in Architecture and research in computational urban design. Since 2016, he has been a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) in Muttenz. From 2017 he is also scientific assistant at Urban Think Tank Chair of Architecture and Urban Design at ETH Zurich, and has been very involved with developing the University’s gaming programme.

Alfredo Brillembourg, Professor of Architecture and co-founder of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT)

4.

Felix Madrazo

Felix Madrazo is an architect, researcher and lecturer with a very diverse resume of projects and achievements. He currently lectures at The Why Factory, TU Delft, and is co-founder of IND [Inter.National.Design], an award winning architecture and urban planning firm. Finally he dedicates research efforts as co-founder of Supersudaca – an urban think tank focusing on Latin American cities. His background includes working for OMA*AMO as project architect, researcher and editor on several projects and being a fellow of the Caracas Urban Think Tank researching informal cities. Within The Why Factory, he has explored the agenda of the future of cities through several studios, with an approach that is experimental and research based aiming at producing observations, hypotheses and statements in both a visual and direct manner. He is the editor and co-author (with Winy Maas) of the book City Shocks: Planning the Unexpected (2013). With the Why Factory studio on Egocity the reseach was focused on how to use gaming tools to solve conflicts between highly individualistic citizens within a restrained envelope. Also as tutor at the Berlage Institute he was involved in the creation of a simulative game to investigate the relationship between density and anarchy in this future vision for cities. This studio explored the ways in which direct democracy can be applied to the design phases of urban interventions. Madrazo is curious about the different tools available for achieving this level of civic engagement and believes that games could provide one such tool for a more ‘participative’ design approach.

Felix Madrazo, partner IND [Inter.National.Design], co-founder Supersudaca, lecturer-researcher The Why Factory

5.

Ekim Tan

Dr. Ekim Tan is the founder of Play the City – a serious game design consultancy operating in both Amsterdam and Istanbul, that helps governments and market parties effectively collaborate with stakeholders. She has enjoyed periods of study and work in the United States, Syria and Egypt. Her doctorate at Delft University of Technology has since been published as a book titled “Negotiation and Design for the Self-organizing City: Gaming as a Method for Urban Design”. Play the City’s method has been applied to projects across the globe, in Istanbul, Amsterdam, Brussels, Tirana, Cape Town, and others. Ekim regularly gives guest lectures and training sessions about cities and games at the Technical University of Delft, Aleppo University for Arts and Sciences, Rotterdam Architecture Academy, Amsterdam Architecture Academy, Copenhagen Business School, and Middle East Technical University.

Ekim Tan, founder of Play the City and co-founder of Games for Cities

Colloquy 1 - Circularity

Cristina Ampatzidou

Cristina is a Rotterdam-based researcher and writer with a background in Architecture and Urbanism and a founder of Amateur Cities. Currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Groningen on the topic of gaming and urban complexity, she previously worked as an embedded researcher for the Amsterdam Hackable Metropolis project, a collaboration of the University of Amsterdam, the Mobile City and One Architecture. Cristina has been a collaborator of Play the City and the Architecture Film Festival of Rotterdam and has worked for several architecture offices in the Netherlands, including MAKS, Barcode Architects, OMA, and the Powerhouse Company. Her research investigates the affordances of new media for ‘city-making’ and the changing roles of professional designers, policy makers and citizens. Recently, Cristina has been involved with the design of Energy Safari, a board game concerning energy transition in the Netherlands.

Cristina Ampatzidou, Researcher, Writer, Architect and Urbanist; co-founder of Amateur Cities

Colloquy 1 - Circularity

Lada Hrsak

Lada is an established architect, urbanist, and lecturer. In 2010 she founded Bureau LADA in Amsterdam – an Architecture, Design and Art studio – where her work emphasises principles of participative development, ecology, place-making and co-produced design. With a cross-disciplinary team of designers, the studio introduces poetry, wit and wisdom wherever possible, taking an experimental approach to architecture. Parallel to her design work, Lada holds several teaching engagements, at TU Delft, the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Royal Academy of the Arts in The Hague, and at Auckland University’s Department of Architecture. She is also a member of the Advisory Committee for the Dutch Creative Industries Fund, and very involved in the Amsterdam urban scene.

Lada Hrsak, Architect, Urbanist and Lecturer; founder of Bureau LADA

Colloquy 2 - Migration

Michelle Provoost

Dr. Michelle Provoost is an architectural historian specialised in urban planning history, postwar architecture and contemporary urban development. She co-founded the office of Crimson Architectural Historians in 1994, which has subsequently been engaged in a large number of research and design projects in the fields of urban planning, architecture and art. Since 2008 Dr. Provoost has served as Director of the International New Town Institute (INTI) in Almere, the Netherlands. She is the head editor of the INTI publications, and under her direction, INTI has grown into an internationally renowned center for education and research relating to New Towns. A lecturer at various universities in the Netherlands and abroad and continues to be in great demand as a public speaker. She lectures regularly throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, and has been involved in many municipal, national and private committees and juries. Dr. Provoost also teaches at various universities in the Netherlands (including TU Delft, the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and the University of Amsterdam), as well as throughout Europe and the United States, and has been involved in many municipal, national and private committees and juries.

Michelle Provoost, Architectural historian and researcher; founder of Crimson Architectural Historians, and Director of INTI

Games to Play at the Conference

10 games will be on hand and ready to be played at the conference if you’re interested in experiencing the fun for yourself.

Respective game designers will be running sessions themselves. Be sure to register for each game and it’s respective time-slot in the morning of the conference to make sure you get a spot!

In the Loop

(with Katherine Whalen)

A board game requiring players to collect materials needed to manufacture products, teaching the need for diversifying resource use away from critical raw materials.

Read our review of the game here

The Maritime Spatial Planning Game

with Dr. Igor Mayer

A serious game that has been likened to a SimCity of the ocean. It utilises complex and real datasets to bring multiple stakeholders together in making real spatial planning decisions.

Ego City

with Felix Madrazo

A digital game that challenges the loss of personal identity usually associated with high-density high-rise vertical cities.

Bycatch

with Kars Alfrink

A card game about flawed surveillance, impossible decisions, and the people caught in between (for 3-5 players). In Bycatch, each player controls a nation on the hunt for suspected terrorists, as players try to locate and eliminate suspects hiding abroad using drone surveillance and strikes. Meanwhile, they must shelter their citizens from the attacks of their opponents. Who will gather the most accurate intelligence and strike with the least collateral damage?

Redesire

with ‘Rezone’

A game that plays with the different interests at stake for various role-players involved with urban development. It creates a ‘map of interests’ which serves as a new blueprint for efficient and long term urban planning.

Read our review of the game here

Refugee Scenario Planning

with Eric van der Kooij

The city of Amsterdam developed a serious game for the Jordanian government on scenario planning. It focusses on the future planning of the Mafraq region which contains one of the largest refugee camps in Jordan, bringing different perspectives and stakeholders into the debate. Since the region depends highly on donor funding, the game functions as a tool for establishing collective ambitions between local, regional, national and international stakeholders.

The Water Game

with Karel Millenaar and Ben Schouten

A scenario-game to understand complex water-related issues with multiple stakeholders.

Energy Safari

with Cristina Ampatzidou

Created under the framework of the project Playing with Urban Complexity (Play!UC), Energy Safari familiarises players with the overall policy vision for energy transition in the province of Groningen through stimulating civic learning and collective efficacy. Players seek to realise energy-related projects by networking with other players and securing permissions and financing, while simultaneously dealing with the consequences of their actions and external challenges.

Project SUBMERGED

with Genèviéve Korte and Gabriele Ferri

Set in the year 2031, Amsterdam is submerged under water due to a catastrophic event – in this narrative-context based game focused on the future of technology and public spaces, players must make difficult choices and decide the fate of their fellow citizens in the process.

Squares

with Ohad Soloman and Ron Sabaag, from Jerusalem

Join a workshop run by one of the winning teams in our ‘migration challenge’ competition, and find out how games can be used to work through complex design challenges in the fields of architecture and urban planning.

Doctoral Consortium

The half-day Games for Cities Doctoral Consortium provides an opportunity for Ph.D. students to explore and develop their interdisciplinary research interests at the crossroads between game design, city-making practices, bottom-up participation, and civic media. It takes place immediately before the Games for Cities International Conference, on 20 April 2017, at the Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam.

The Doctoral Consortium is an opportunity to present your work-in-progress research to fellow students, as well as senior researchers in the field. It is a friendly, workshop-like setting where we aim to connect you with people who might inspire your research and provide constructive feedback.

Candidates for the Doctoral Consortium are Ph.D. students (or early-career researchers) who have already decided a topic and methodology for their current research, and have made some progress, but who are not so far along that they can no longer make changes. In sum, the Doctoral Consortium is an occasion to present your in-progress work, receive friendly feedback, and be inspired by your peers from all over Europe.

To take part to the Doctoral Consortium candidates should:
- Be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program,
- Submit before March 31:
1. a short ‘position paper’ (PDF, 6000-characters, references excluded) that explains synthetically how your current research is related to the themes of playfulness and cities,
2. a brief CV (PDF, maximum 2 pages and 2 Mb, select only the most relevant information)

Accepted participants will attend the Doctoral Consortium, giving a 20-minutes presentation of their current research and providing friendly feedback to their peers. They will also receive an invitation letter to attend the Games for Cities conference, as well as a special discount on the admission ticket.

Please submit applications to info@gamesforcities.com

Application deadline: 12pm on 31 March 2017
Notification of acceptance: 7 April 2017

Organising committee:
Dr Ekim Tan (Play the City foundation)
Dr Gabriele Ferri (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences – lectorate in Play & Civic Media)
Dr Martijn de Waal (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences – lectorate in Play & Civic Media)
Dr Michiel de Lange (Utrecht University, Department of Media and Culture Studies)

From Human to Human

with Maria Tome Nuez, from the Canary Islands

Join a workshop run by one of the winning teams in our ‘migration challenge’ competition, and find out how social media platforms can be employed to connect those in need with friends in deed.