Critical Playable Cities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter outlines a specific framework for the creation of critical playable cities. This framework combines three different concepts: DIY urbanism, critical design and urban gamification which are seen as complementary to each other. Cities are complex systems. Various actors often explicitly or implicitly harmonize or collide to shape the landscape of a city and its future. In the past decades, there has been an increased interest in activating citizens as vital actors in shaping urban life. This has taken place through various practical works and research around the paradigms of Playable Cities, DIY Urbanism and Gamification amongst other paradigms. Urban gamification—that is, using play and playfulness to alter our perception of and interactions with city spaces—is specifically emerging as one of the main strategies to activate citizens. Urban gamification alone, however, risks to be disconnected from the urban fabric and its communities. In this chapter we argue that combining it with the grassroot approach of DIY urbanism and the thought-provoking techniques of critical design creates a unique, multi-dimensional approach to designing urban experiences. This chapter, then, aims to explore how play can be used by citizens as a mean for critical reflection and practical re-appropriation of public urban spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking Smart Cities More Playable
EditorsAnton Nijholt
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-13-9765-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

Name Gaming Media and Social Effects
ISSN (Print)2197-9685
ISSN (Electronic)2197-9693


  • Critical playable cities
  • DIY urbanism
  • Critical design
  • Ludicisation
  • Urban gamification

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies
  • Communication
  • Social Sciences(all)


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