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Stories from the world of Urban Play


#109

Hi Conor - your research sounds fascinating…as does the field work in Tokyo, Rio and London! Your story about the febrile was heartening too. There seems to be a real overlap between games and play and humour - like this is where we give ourselves permission to laugh and be something else, something more than group tension.


#110

Hello everyone

I am Michael (Misha) Lobzhanidze. Currently I work for Art, Sport and Youth Development Center in the small city of Rustavi, Georgia. I have been trying to design games or at least tweak them so it would feel nice since 2012. They were mostly video games or board games. When I started working in Rustavi, urban activities became inseparable part of my daily life, so I would really like to learn and make those activities as fun and enjoyable for young people as possible.

Currently I was working on the board game designed by Pracownia Miejska. It is a gamified system for youth engagement and research. Very fun and enjoyable game.


#111

Hello urban game enthusiasts! My name is Marina and I am an Architect and Urban Planner living and working in NIcosia, the capital of the mediterranean island of Cyprus. I have studied architecture in Strasbourg, France and did a Master in Urban planning in Amsterdam,the Netherlands. I returned to my country in 2014 when the economic crisis froze the construction sector and the opportunities for young creatives were very limited. At the same time, the need for social change was manifested in many aspects of the everyday life. I did my apprenticeship in an architecture studio and started questioning many aspects of the professional world and the interaction with the public / the citizens.

The lack of job opportunities pushed me to be very active in socially engaged projects and used most of my free time volunteering. My relationship with playful installations and adult games in public spaces started within the context of local art festivals. I have been an active member of the NGO Urban Gorillas since 2015. Urban Gorillas is a multidisciplinary team of urban enthusiasts working on activating public spaces in Cyprus.

I have also been involved in Xarkis Festival for a couple of years. This festival visits a different shrinking village every summer and aims to bring together the old and the new, the traditional and the contemporary. Xarkis (which means from the beginning in cypriot dialect) focuses on community based entertainment and education.

Being in the production team of a few festivals was a unique chance for me to realize how an ephemeral, short-term event becomes a platform to design and test games in order to creatively and playfully engage people in social matters.

I am also very interested in the combination of ‘fun’ and ‘learning’. Thus, I am grateful for the knowledge of Non Formal Education tools I learned from Erasmus Plus programs as it is important to be able to engage people with diverse backgrounds and social skills, outside of schools. But as I do have trust in Youth and believe that education should be fun, in 2017 I proposed an urban pedagogy workshop program for the children of the French-Cypriot school in Nicosia. The focus was to inspire children’s curiosity for their immediate and urban environment and give them tools to apprehend it.

I also love the concept of the Flaneur, Baudelaire’s urban explorer and man of leisure, hence I am interested in understanding and influencing citizens’ experience of urban space. That is why I am assisting next month in walkshops of the European Placemaking Week in Valencia!

To conclude the introduction of myself I would like to share with you about when I trusted in something: When I returned back in my country after studying abroad, I was disappointed by the corrupted system, the misery and the lack of support for youth. Being someone who was trained to think creatively I reacted to the survival strategies of others and following my own instinct! I trusted that the right people and the right opportunities will come at the right time! I am happy I attracted people in my life that help me grow by challenging me and/or supporting me!

I would love to be one of the trainees and experiment with interactive ways to engage citizens using the street, the public space and the city as a playground! I am so glad to e-meet all of you and cannnot wait to discover more about Trust in Play and Urban Game Design.

(P.S. in case I am selected to be part of the lucky 18 to participate in the training program I would obviously be in the nomadic team. However, there is a possibility for me to move out of Cyprus after the summer so I would consider the location of the other branches too… Heh, I am being playful and flexible!:wink:


#112

Hello Trust in play people !

Wow, you all have so much diverse and interesting experiences, just reading your presentation give a lot of ideas ! I would love to work with a pupeteer or theatre maker ( looking at you @BagelandBalloon & @nuuluu ) !!

I’m Samuel Lepoil, I’ve a background in game design and narrative design from a school in Paris called Les Gobelins. My little story is one of a boy a bit snobbish that dedicated himself to theatre and thought games was not an artistic medium…. until I played one ! At 20 I realized how much game can bring to this world in all their forms and I radically changed my life course to study how interactivity can convey stories.

It took me a bit of a while to find myself in this new world. I developed a particular liking for games that blurs frontiers between reality and fiction and naturally drift to the world of VR and AR, but also immersive theatre. In each one of the project I work on, I pretty much fall in love with the same thought : to create a transformative experience, that will help the user to trust in themselves, their ideas, their imagination, and their feeling. It’s the best reward when you see someone laughing or crying during your experience or when they talked to you about something personal after having played what you made for them.

Now, 2 years after exiting the school, I think there is a new chapter to open in my life. I’ve created a little two person studio where I work as creative director and learned to make money with my craft. But I want to return to something more artistic, listening to the people in the street and not to a client, and trying to light this spark in their eyes that’s so rewarding to see.

I hope to meet you all in september,

Best,


#113

And, to continue with this topic. I am very interested in adapting “urban play” into surroundings where it can be called “rural play” and instread of only discussing “playable cities” should we also discuss about “playable countryside”. Can you play in outskirts without having immediately a reputation of a village fool? Are cities actually far more tolerating in attitudes than narrow minded rural areas? Should “right to play” not to be priviledged to citydwellers only but extended to rural surroundings too?


#114

Hi MariaS,
I just came across trust in play and this is so inspiring! I was wondering if it is still possible to apply for it?
Kind regards
Clara


#115

Hey Clara! you’re welcome to apply! The call is still open :slight_smile:
https://community.trustinplay.eu/t/open-call-how-to-apply-faq/


#116

Hello everyone!

I am Bondov, Angel Bondov from Bulgaria :wink:

I have graduated urbanist, co-founder of’|In|Formal’ association, interested in the fields of placemaking, design, and research. I believe that developing a solution to problems, related to cities, must involve the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. For the last couple of years, I’ve been actively working on various placemaking initiatives in Bulgaria. These includes:

  1. Urban action called ‘Neighbourhood chat’;

  2. Leading a 2 week ‘Urban design’ workshop in the city of Troyan, Bulgaria;

  3. Leading expert/urbanist and urban designer during the two editions of the biggest placemaking project in Bulgaria - ‘The_Spot’. In 2017 and 2018, 20 public spaces in 20 different Bulgarian cities were renovated together with local communities. The process consists of 3 stages for every city that aimed to engage a maximum number of local inhabitants.

Lately, I’m very curious and exploring the potentials of public spaces and possible ways of gamification and implementation of urban games. I think that every city has the potential to provide a unique experience to its inhabitants but this strongly depends on the way cities are ‘introduced’ to the people. I think that through urban games cities can create added value to both - locals and tourists. And, of course, local people should be part of the process of developing these games. This will add extra value and support from local communities and will improve the experience of people that interact with the urban games.

I’m looking forward to meeting you and exchange experience :slight_smile:


#117

Hi, everyone!
I’m Varvara and I am so happy to find the community of like-minded people! I am originally from St.Petersburg, but now I work in Berlin at “Poligonal - Office for Urban Communication”, where we organize interactive city-walks!

I am into urban games already for 3 years! I use role-games for conflict-mediation between different user-groups in public spaces. I came up with this method working on a urban-development project in St.Petersburg. There local community was fighting agains a developer that destroyed a historical building, so I took the initiative to develop a counter-proposal. Although, there was a problem: the activists had inner conflicts since they had a different vision of how the space should be used. That’s how I came up with an idea to organize a game, to give the participants different roles and make them look at the public space through the eyes of another user. This helped to resolve many conflicts during the phase of participative planning and nurtures a mutual understanding and willingness to find compromises.

I am so exited now to see what kinds of methods you use :wink:


#118

Hello y’all! Name’s Andrea, but most people in the United States call me Andy. I was born and raised in Costa Rica until I came to NYC to study Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons, in 2014. While in Costa Rica I was a transmedia storyteller with a deep interest in game design and interaction design, and after co-founding the first Interaction Design Master’s in Central America I even led a game design class there.

My work in America has been all about using the power of play in unconventional formats or industries – I currently work at ConsenSys, a blockchain venture studio, as a Product Lead and have utilized game design techniques (like playtesting) to turn developers’ white papers into pen and paper prototypes that we can test before having to develop for 6 months to a year. I’ve spoken about this experience recently at the Radical Exchange conference in Detroit, and you can check out the slides for that here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IglSTItedLaL6mo2Vds3kTGS1ShCsihFKjyd7AcFKT0

My most recent experience with urban play was Urban Periscopes, a series of periscopes displaying phrases and images that Latinx children could superimpose over the rooftops of Harlem, giving them a new perspective on their city and flipping surveillance on its head. It was a really exciting experience, and I learned a lot about opening the design process to the communities I work with, as well as the basic physics of building huge PVC periscopes with my own hands. But I guess the biggest learning was a simple one: New York City, at its core, is not a city made for its citizens to transform. My team and I were shocked by the level of bureaucracy we encountered, and the constant run-ins with authority that our well-meaning project had. If I had to create a playful experience in cities again, my first step right after brainstorming would be to make sure that our ideas can actually work in the legal frameworks that exist, and if they don’t, how we can circumvent them in a legal way :wink:


#119

Hi, I am Marloes Sikkema.

I am an independent innovation consultant with game based learning as my weapon of choice. Although I work as a consultant for both companies and public bodies, designing ánd using games in my work is what makes my heart tick!

I believe in the power of narrative, immersive games that allow players to experiment and learn together without the rules and consequences of reality.

I have been educated as a designer. I have graduated at the renowned Dutch game design company Living Story. We have collaborated on games ever since. What sets me apart though; my own games will always be about enabling individuals to feel powerful to change the world.

My latest ambition is to design a game that will enlarge public engagement in city government. I am in the starting phase of a collaboration with a municipality on this topic. I have worked in European projects a lot so I am looking forward to reconnect with the international community!!!


#120

Hello, i am Chris.
Maria thanks for the warm welcoming.

For me, designing games is, as any kind of art, making a vision reality with the most beautiful way you can. The procedure of the making, where your thoughts and goals are in low resolution is for me selfdiscovering and inspiring. Also, the continuous attempts of achieving what you visualised, that slowly lead you to create your final product, are pushing you to not give up and test your limits on what you can achieve. All this aspects of game design made me love it and led me to want it in my life so much.

Now, a little about myself and how i got here. I am from Greece and live in Athens, i will be 20 years old in October and i am currently an undergraduate student in the Department of Mathematics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. I love games since i 've been a child because of the adrenaline that the competition brings you and the fun,teasing and humor while playing. For the past two years, i engaged more with playing and creating boargames. I am now in the making of the fourth boardgame as a creator. I mostly play them with friends and there have been discussions on promoting them on the market, hopefully. Enough with the boardgames. Outdoor games are a whole other spectrum. I remember myself always creating games to play with my little cousins every time i was going to see them. I 've also been a volunteer in the Athens Re-Science Festival 2019 and a game master in the escape room that the festival contained.It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, mostly because as a game master i was in the rooms with the teams helping them and explaining them stuff they didn’t get and not outside the room. This personal and face to face communication was one of a kind, especially with children, because i was role playing and helping them, by presenting the theme of the room in a way that they where attracted to it, also to get in their role. Seeing them so happy, engaged and cooperative made me ten times happier.

The engagement of athletics, coordination of critical thinking and fast reaction that contributes to your movement makes this area of games (outdoor) something special. The last month a thought was bugging me all the time. I wanted to create something that has your body to engage more to the game, not just a boardgame. Something between the two. This led me to some ideas that might be usefull for your vision. I have never heard of an organised community like this one that you have created for designing urban games. Imagine my face when i was watching a regular newsletter mail and then suddently a link with this community pops up and i am like whaaaat? I must be dreaming. I was so astonished i couldn’t sleep that night.

I am very happy to be here and have the chance to attend these surely lifechanging meetings and to get to know incredible people that have the same passion with me and cooperate with them to make something special.

I wish a nice day to everyone and hope to see you soon.


#121

Hi creative creators!

I am Alexandra. I live currently in Patras, Greece and i am Placemaker along with other creative professional aspects.

I will share with you somethings about me with the title:

Me, myself and I
Alexandra lives her life creating or else architecting, poeting and collaging.
Her education in Architecture (MA, University of Patras), Sustainable Energy planning (Certificate of Specialization, University of Athens) and Construction project management (MSc, Open Hellenic University) enable her to engage in various architectural and landscape projects in Austria and Greece.

Pause.

If Alexandra was a word
it would be definitely a verb.
A verb with energy and passion,
a verb that narrate and listen stories.
A verb that explore the depths of yesterday, today, tomorrow.
Τhere is such a verb, doesn’t it?

Pause.

I was born and raised in Patras, Greece, lived in Thessaloniki and Vienna. A passioned moment-hunter for inspiration and art devoted to inspire people involving and embracing the common spaces through architectural thinking, arts and nature. Even since November 2015, I started the exploration with a particular style of digital visualization.

Every single one of my artworks is a poetic narration between shapes, emotions and words. I would like to think my work as a journey of the mind, start from the realism of photography to the imaginative story is being born through colors, textures, volumes.

May I take you to this journey?

Pause.


#122

Hi,

I am Mark Mushiva. An interaction designer from Windhoek, Namibia. For the last four years, I have been pursuing a doctorate in computer science, with a specific focus on designing low-threshold mixed-aged games for strangers in cities. During my Ph.D. studies, I was fortunate enough to attend various game design courses in the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Utrecht). I also spent a lot of time in Berlin with the INKA research group at HTW working on integrating novel mixed-reality experiences into the traditional cultural institution ( i.e museum). I have a working knowledge of various creative programming languages (Processing, PD, SuperCollider, JS, etc). While I am not the most technically inclined, I have deep convictions in viewing technology as a cultural force that should improve the quality of life for all people. I often joke about being an “Anarchocrypto Marxist”. I have a huge reverence for Buckminster Fuller, Jaque Fresco, Debord as exemplary figures of progressive thought.

I love cities. I am from a small African city in Southern Africa with a very complicated and diverse history. Having endured through German Colonialism and Apartheid, Namibia is home to people of different racial and cultural backgrounds. It is these complicated and textured realities of Windhoek that made me fall in love with city spaces. My understanding of cities is also influenced by Foucault seminal work on cities as Heterotopias or places that simultaneously support utopian and dystopian visions. My Love for skateboarding has also shaped my feeling for cities, I believe a good city is one that supports the multiple configurations of its citizens. I both love and fear the metropolis visions of Terry Gilium, Aldous Huxley and Katsuhiro Otomo. I love everything about the 80s, synthpop, high octane John Woo Action thriller, Neo-Noir, and SciFi. I love Blade Runner, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Psycho-Pass and that sort of thing. I guess I am an Otaku cliché in that way.

I am always happy to form new social connections, so many wonderful people have helped me along my journey. I hope life conspires for our paths to meet. I once made a terrible game called the Ubahn staring game in Berlin, it taught me a little about the opportunities and constraints of the public context. I love making games with other people. I especially love thinking about games to be played by strangers because I believe we thrive when we connect with other people. It is an evolutionary feature we ought to exploit more.

Powers

Mark


#123

Would love to hear more about the ‘Ubahn staring game’. You are definitely on to something with this, people in Berlin U-bahn reaaaaaaaaaally stare don’t they lol!


#124

Hi everyone,
I am Charis, 26, living in Athens and an Architecture Graduate and passionate game designer. I love applying the theoretical knowoledge acquired at the University about human needs, human scale-tailored design and how volumes (built or rendered) are perceived by the human mind, to the design of interactive experiences made possible by the game medium. I love thinking about augmenting information and adding layers of depth to a pre-existing built environment, in a way getting the most out of a given space. I have designed several smal-scale games (arcade, racing, rpg) in Unity (self-taught) and countless other digital environments in modelling programs, always trying to find new ways of experiencing said realities, either via stills, animation or vr goggles, which ultimately questions the interface between the analog and the digital.
My constant fear is seeing purposefully-designed public spaces being “left out” and not being used by the citizens, so I’m hoping that with the infusion of interactive experiences and urban games such places will be given a second chance.


#125

Hi everyone!!
My name is Vivi and I am so happy to read your amazing stories!

I am from Ecuador and I am an urban planner and placemaker.
I studied law but I was very disappointed because I couldn’t find real justice. So I decided to quit my job and travel with my friends. They were architects and they were going to an Architecture Social Workshop to create public spaces. To be there, no one was supposed to know I was not an architect, so my friends asked me to please don’t say much and just enjoy the event.
Half an hour later I was already giving my opinion about the place and the design, what I was feeling and how I could help. Of course, I came up with very weird ideas according to the architects, but in the end, we manage to do some really nice artistic installation together.
I saw how public spaces had so much impact on the people! Public spaces were great for the economy, for health, to create connections and achieve happiness! I thought THIS IS JUSTICE! So I decided to become an urban planner. Ever since I work in planning and public policies. Using mostly tactical urbanism and placemaking to bring a different vibe to the spaces.
I love when something is happening on the street! I am always up to participate in new things, games, and events that bring people together and it just makes me very happy to know there are other people who enjoy it too!

cuadraditos


#126

Hi everybody!

I’m Katerina, living in Athens and currently working as an architect. I studied Architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, but I was sure from the very beginning that I would prefer to design playgrounds than buildings.
My thesis project was a web platform Museum of Everyday Urbanism, that allowed the users of the center of Thessaloniki to share their experience of the city, using images, videos, sounds & text and explore the others’ entries, archived in the digital museum ( a 3d structure overlaying the city’s map - built in unity ). Users are also available to explore the library of theoritical tools, diy manuals & resources, announce open calls for urban projects & participate in others’. The aim of the platform is to inspire ludic behaviors, to serve as tool for participatory urban design & research, and also to bring together people with similar interests.
Currently, I’m working on a site-specific treasure-hunting game .The game is about discovering all the qr-codes spread in my neighborhood’s park, that lead to video episodes about little creatures that come alive at night.
Urban games & ludic situations are my main field of interest, and I hope that Trust in Play will help me enrich my knowledge and tactics of urban game design.
Looking forward to meeting you,
Katerina


#127

Hey there!

I’m Nafsika- originally from Greece- currently live in the North of England!
I have an architectural background, but the last 3 years-through my masters and PhD- I’m more into the landscape, public space, playful streetscapes and public health! I’m excited to find out about this brilliant community and I hope my contribution to be helpful.

In the past, I co-ordinated an urban game, in the context of P-Public festival in Chania, Crete. It was a fascinating experience, using mythogeography to encourage dwellers to re-think and experience their urban environment through multiple perspectives, using playful scenarios in a map. Now, I’m very interested in how street trees and naturalistic design could enhance children’s physical activity and engage them in the public realm. Cities, public spaces and streetscapes should be playful, exciting and support children and adults wellbeing.
Looking forward to exploring more playful stories from you!
Nafsika


#128

Hi all,

I am Sarah, originally from Austria.

Very excited about this group and this program!

I have a background in philosophy, physics and multimedia-design. Working as a consultant for enterprises and on my own art projects. How does all this connect? I recently discovered: Games!

So I just tried to learn more about games - and there you are! Offering this program and this fascinating group!

My start with games: success and failure at the same time:
I was invited to an artist residency in the Julian Alps in Italy and work on the landscape. The views are spectacular. So we were driving arround, thinking of what kind of fantastic art-work we could create about this landscape. After one week we found out: anything we would do, is ridiculous compared to this landscape. So we decided to work WITH the landscape.
We created a water-proof installation with candles in the rainy forrest. It was just enough light so you could see some trees and the terrace-structure (the now almost extinct Slovenian minority created these terraces for agriculture in the steep mountains). The atmosphere was magic.
People told us: we will not go into the forrest at night in the rain. So after nights of thinking, we came up with the idea of a very simple game and convinced the organisers. The evening of the presentation we have a misunderstanding with the organisers, so people do not bring jackets or anything for the rain.
Sooo… we kind of force everybody to go outside and try to provide them with some rain protection. Some people leave. The others go through the experience. When they come out of the forrest, they are calm and have shiny eyes while thanking us for the unique experience. Happy end? Almost.

It was designed for the human eyes. Impossible to take pictures:

You know what they say about not well documented work. Its almost like work that never existed.

So many things I wanna discuss with you…