Submitted by WA Contents

Migrating Ideas: Play The City created Diverse Planning for Win-Win Situations at reSITE 2016

Czech Republic - Jun 17, 2016 - 21:19   4728 views

In the second day of reSITE, an interactive game has been played with the audience to understand and implement multi-layered necessities, needs, demands of citizens, stakeholders and cities in urban design process. 'Play the City' developed by Ekim Tan, founder, game designer in Amsterdam, has been tested for the first time at the reSITE's stage with audience to response complex dynamics of cities. Play the City uses gaming to engage multiple stakeholders in resolving complex urban challenges. Play the City moderated by Ekim Tan and Richard Pelgrim. 

A 1.5-hour interactive gaming session allowed conference delegates to work directly with international guests and high level local participants in an innovative format that has been tested at reSITE for the first time. 12 large-format game boards. 12 teams of 50 participants and 20 expert consultants roled play investors, politicians, citizens and designers to plan a simulated city based on the themes of the conference. 

Ekim Tan and Richard Pelgrim are on the stage to give instructions about the game. 

In the play, each participant in the team had different roles:

Mayor (vision): How do you envision your city’s future growth and development? What kind of city will you leave behind in five or maybe ten years? What is your take on migration? What will be the leading motivations guiding official decision-making? Decide on three keywords that will define your city’s vision and write them on the empty space on the Game Table. 

Policy Makers (law, number of immigrants): You are the policy-makers in charge of drafting and passing laws and regulation, specifically regarding the increasing migration to your city. You will have to decide on how many migrants this city will officially allow to settle within its borders. Use the props provided (each prop represents 1000 migrants) to indicate the amount and location of formally-allowed settlement. 

Conference delegates started to play the city and trying to understand. 

Economist (budget): As economists, you are tasked with allocating the city’s resources. You will have to decide on how to allocate the available budget. Will you invest in ongoing projects that address local issues? Or would you rather support new projects that try to creatively tackle the challenges posed by the newcomers? Use the props provided (money in color 1) to indicate the initiatives you will support.

reSITE conference delegates are reading game boards choosing trick keywords. 

Developer (housing, empty offices, new housing, densifying existing neighbourhoods): As this city’s largest real-estate developer, you work closely with the municipality to provide housing for the city’s residents. The current migration crisis could thus be a considerable opportunity to expand your operations. You have to decide on where to start developing for newcomers: new residential neighbourhoods, converting empty office spaces, densifying existing suburbs and so forth. Use the props provided to indicate. 

Ekim Tan and Richard Pelgrim are directing conference delegates. 

Urban Activist (public opinion, demonstrations): You represent a collective of urban activists, ranging across social classes and income groups. As such, you feel it is your duty to contribute to - if
not shape - public opinion as it pertains to current migration questions. What better way to do this than through demonstrations and events in public space? You have to decide on how to intervene in the ongoing discourse and whether or not you agree with the decisions made by the previous players. Use the props provided to indicate the types of public events you will organise and the message you convey. 

Ekim Tan and Richard Pelgrim are directing media and journalist -how will they launch a campaign to spread out cities' vision?

NGO (volunteers, social projects): You represent a collective of small local NGO’s whose members work mostly on a voluntary basis. Based on the decisions of the previous players, you will have to decide on how best to engage with the ongoing migration to your city. How can civil society best respond to the current situation? What sorts of projects will you launch, and where? Use the props provided to indicate the types of projects you want to set up and their locations in the city. 

Designer (digital technology, apps): You represent the design community, keen to engage with the migration challenge in creative and innovative ways. You will have to decide how you will use your design and technical expertise to intervene in the current situation. Will you work closely with the authorities to develop high-tech surveillance innovations? Or take the side of the city’s newcomers and build peer-to- peer sharing platforms? Use the props provided to indicate the types of apps/ interventions you will design and for whom they are intended. 

Conference delegates still in the game. 

Media / Journalist (communication, newspaper spots, TV ads, blogs, speakers corner): You are in a key position to influence the communication surrounding the migration question. Will you broadcast the official migration policies of your city, will you launch an independent campaign to spear your own vision? How will you frame the current situation? What will you highlight? How will you reach out to people out there? 

Citizens (solidarity, money, donations):  As ordinary citizens, you have an important voice to add to the current debate. You will have to decide where to place your solidarity and...What is still missing? Fill up the gaps of the economists, NGO’s, public opinion. Use the props provided (money in colour 2) to indicate which initiatives you will support with your donations. 

Migrant (self-initiatives, hearts, open initiatives): You represent the migrant community that has arrived in this city and is looking to make a new home here. Are you legal or illegal? Now that all the players have set the scene with their input and decisions, you get your space to react. What is your response to the way [this city] is receiving you? What have the players done well? What have they overlooked? Use the props provided to indicate the initiatives you support and/or suggest your own alternatives. 

Ekim Tan and Richard Pelgrim are warning about budget of cities that the delegates have to restructure for the game. 

Play the City basically focuses on two questions that need to be answered via online interaction. First; How can we design public space, transportation, housing and public architecture to better suit the needs of new residents? Second; How can we improve the urban development environment to find win-win solutions across the public, private and civic sectors? 

After the game ended by the moderators Ekim Tan and Richard Pelgrim, 12 different stories have been narrated by a representative mayor and migrant chosen by the team. The general idea about the cities that each city was not afraid of getting the highest number of immigrants from other cities. Each city was shaped according to three themes; education, innovation and new housing to provide more liveable conditions, which was also discussed throughout two days of the reSITE 2016. 

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