Contemporary cities are economic centers and engines of innovation but they are also generators of poverty, pollution and home to plenty social problems. Administrating a city is balancing out all these factors, admitting that many are just too difficult to grasp.
Games in the form of rule –based, quantitative urban simulation models are more capable of describing, simulating and predicting urban scenarios but also to pro-actively create new urban landscapes. Games can be easily accessible and understood, so they allow non-experts to participate in procedures that would normally occur behind closed doors, truly a paradox, given the fact that the city is something that concerns all of us. Future Institute in New York, predicts that 3 billion hours a week are spent on online games. Even if designers could engage 1% of the global amount of players in true urban planning processes online, that would already be a significant population of people responsively altering their urban environment.
In the recent years, a big amount of initiatives have appeared that use game- like structures to engage people in an active attitude towards their cities. The development of social media and the widespread use of smart phones are two major enablers for these platforms that allow their users to map problems, propose solutions and ideas or express their desires about their neighbourhoods. I. In this paper we will examine a series of virtual platforms that, using game-like structures, try to answer real questions about real cities through the eyes of their inhabitants. Depending on the goal and structure of each of these platforms, public participation can lead to the administration of a city block, the organisation of a community garden, the redesign of a park or the development of new program for abandoned office building.
- Eva Kekou, Greece