Playing with urban complexity

Civic engagement, participation and democratization of decision making processes are core features for novel governance approaches to tackle complexities such as complex spatial questions. However, communicative and engaging activities are often experienced as usatisfactory by citizens. This is an issue the JPI Urban Europe project Play!UC have addressed by developing a series of serious games in urban development.

These playful tools are to serve as an engaging link to real-world scenarios and are expected to be at the same time entertaining and motivating for citizens to engage in civic matters and support learning on different levels. The aim with these co-located serious games is to serve as an effective method to facilitate productive, collaborative activities in participatory processes for urban planning. By playing, the participants will provide both informative content but also an artificial conflict to promote interaction and discussion between participants.

In total, six games have been developed including board and card games, digital public space and augmented reality games. Each game have been tailored to the needs of a specific urban context, however, they can easily be used in other settings by using the same combination of game mechanics.


The games are:

Floating City

AR you gonna go my way?


City Makers

Energy Safari

Mobility Safari

Information about each game, including the ruleset and a video of gameplay is available

Read more about the project here


Booklet with Guidelines

If you wish to read the final report please email for a copy.




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