Critical Playable Cities

  • Lobna Hassan
  • Mattia ThibaultEmail author
Part of the Gaming Media and Social Effects book series (GMSE)


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.


Critical playable cities DIY urbanism Critical design Ludicisation Urban gamification 



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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 793835. This work was also supported by the Finnish Foundation for Economic Education (grants:. 12-6385 and 14-7824), and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (grant: 00190298).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gamification Group, Faculty of HumanitiesUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Gamification Group, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication SciencesTampere UniversityTampereFinland

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