Report on the Games for Cities conference 20 – 21 April 2017

The Mobile City, HvA, UU, and Play the City together organized the two-day International City-Gaming Conference Games for Cities on 20 – 21 April 2017 at Het Nieuwe Instituut. I moderated the event.

The Games for Cities programme hosted the first international conference on city-games, with leading ‘city-game’ design experts from around the world together with urbanists and decision makers, exploring the role for play and games in citymaking strategies.

City-games are increasingly prevalent in the daily work of policy-makers, regulators, urban designers, smart city experts and architects. The Games for Citiesprogramme 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 aimed at bringing Dutch city-gaming practices and international best practices into closer contact with one another.

This was an intriguing conference with keynotes on the potential values and pitfalls when designing and applying games for tackling urban issues. Wth Ronald Schneider, Rotterdam’s Alderman for Urban Development and Integration, opening the conference proceedings on Day 2, this was followed up by keynotes from Paolo Pedercini of Molleindustria, Eric Gordon from the Engagement Lab, Alfredo Brillembourg and Michael Walczak from Urban Think Tank, Felix Madrazo of The Why Factory, and Ekim Tan from Play the City. There were also 12 city-game break-out sessions organised to actively engage conference participants.

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