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Play the City Studio

Do not Plan, Play the City: Opening Design and Governance to the People

Play the City is an Amsterdam and Istanbul based City Gaming Company.
City Gaming Method can facilitate participatory processes, manage complex urban projects, resolve conflicts, help connect to communities.

Moderated by Tracy Metz, March 30th, 2014

  • “People can have a say in how cities are planned,” said Tracy Metz in the introduction to City Series #3 at Hotel Droog on Thursday, March 27th with guests Ekim Tan (founder Play the City), Jurriaan van Rijswijk (Chairman of the Games for Health Europe Foundation), and Jeroen Warmerdam (founder of Tygron). “Can gaming offer a different way of designing cities, by bringing all parties acting both from above and below and letting the collective intelligence of engaged players – citizens, market parties, authorities - into city making?”

    Trained as an architect and urban planner, guest speaker Ekim Tan traced her route from u...

    Posted by: Ekim Tan, 18 Jun 2014,14:33

Play Khayelitsha

challenges you to turn this township into a real town!

Play Khayelitsha is a city gaming initiative by Play the City and the African Centre for Cities (ACC) with the support of the City of Cape Town, the Dutch Creative Industries Fund, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Consulate General, Cape Town. It is also a programmatic component for NL@WDC2014, an initiative of the Netherlands Consulate-General in Cape Town.

In 2014, Play the City will focus on Khayelitsha’s Business District -KBD. The city game will target creating win-win situations between players with conflicting interests that will result in realistic business cases to unlock stagnating urban development projects in the KBD.

The accuracy of a city game is directly dependent on the relevancy of players around the game table. Play Khayelitsha will engage direct stakeholders of KBD to play; from Informal Traders Association, Solid Waste Network Khayelitsha, Makeka Design Lab, the city’s planning, infrastructure, housing departments, to local organizations such as Khayelitsha Comm...

Posted by: Ekim Tan, 24 Apr 2014,11:35

Play the City at Hotel Droog

Save the date: 27 March 2014, Amsterdam

During Droog Café’s Irritation lecture series, a selected number of fearless speakers stand up and share their most annoying irritation to those willing to listen and react.

  • An informal evening fuelled by a mix of inspiration and frustration, laughter and tears on how just the smallest thing can make life so irritating and how irritation can lead to inspiration. During the City edition of this series, Ekim Tan from Play the City will reveal the irritation caused her by ignorance of urban design in serious gaming, and how this irritation turned into an adventurous design journey which took her, and a new generation of city games, from Istanbul to Amsterdam, Tirana, Brussels, Cape Town and beyond.

    Past speakers include Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer), Koert van Mensvoort (Next Nature), Ed van Hint...

    Posted by: Ekim Tan, 23 Mar 2014,21:42

Density Game, Cape Town

December 2013, South Africa

Was it Nelson Mandela’s final journey, Barrack Obama’s selfies, or the World Design Capital title that made The New York Times declare Cape Town the no. 1 place to visit in 2014?

It may have been all or none of these … what we do know is that, for a city gaming practice, Cape Town is a treasure with highly complex urban questions and conflicts.

  • Cape Town Sprawl - 

    Ekim Tan, 2013 July

  • Since Play the City’s first visit to South Africa in July 2013, we have been developing a density game. This is a generic city game addressing the sprawl and density dilemma of world metropolises. Its first application will be for the City of Cape Town, launched during as a World Design Capital event. The game is designed to re-establish, or in some cases establish, a dialogue between the actors that influence a city’s urban form. It does this through the negotiation of the fairest way to distribute the limited resources available, such as infrastructure, public services and farmlands.

    We are delighted to announce that the ...

    Posted by: Ekim Tan, 2 Feb 2014,19:51

Urban Futures Forum, Copenhagen

October 2013, Denmark

‘Sustainable change won't come through moralising, only through movement’ – Practical and inspiring words from Denmark’s 35 year old Minister of the Environment, Ida Auken.

Play the City Catalogue 2014!

For the Winter – Spring – Summer – Autumn Season

Play the City Foundation now offers a full list of city gaming services available to support and inform design projects, planning processes and urban policy development.

Activate & Involve

Wonderland Magazine feat. Play the City

Play van Gendthallen! The making of the Freezing Favela featured in the latest edition of Wonderland, the Platform for European Architecture's magazine

  • The making of the Freezing Favela - 

    Play van Gendthallen! featured in the autumn 2013 issue of Wonderland

  • Architecture has in recent years witnessed an extension of its spectrum of tools, instruments and methodologies. As opposed to exclusively designing and building, architects developed new instruments and methodologies to bring sense and life into dysfunctional elements of the built environment, such as participative interventions in space, involvement of many different stakeholders and moderation/communication strategies in order to foster process oriented projects. Wonderland’s member offices and their events embrace this evolution and use various soft and performative elements to act on and intervene in urban space.

    Read ...

    Posted by: Diana Ibáñez López, 24 Dec 2013,13:59

Open letter to Rudi Vervoort

Att: Prime Minister of the Brussels Capital Region

The last day of the masterclass was dedicated to a more general reflection on what temporary use can do for a city, resulting in an open letter to the Region's Prime Minister.

  • Thursday’s game process was elaborated into a list of things of potential actions: small interventions which can be done independently in the short term, and a list of bigger interventions which require the limited support of land owners and other parties, and which can be realised in the medium term.

    In order to think more generally about temporary use, and specifically on how to convince others to make space and time for temporary uses, each participant wrote down how they would sell the concept to influential politicians. In Brussels, the Region is important as both the land owner and the custodian of public space, but in such...

    Posted by: Ekim Tan, 1 Nov 2013,12:50


City Game Play Temporary Brussels

How would you manoeuvre a mixed-use masterplan through Brussels's labyrinth of public administration? Could temporary public spaces pave the way for the future development of Ninoofsepoort, a complex traffic junction at the western entrance of ‘the pentagon’ – Brussels’ historic centre?

  • European cities are facing the challenge of reacting proactively to their urban wastelands and vacant buildings. Berlin is an inspiring example, and each city has unique potentials and handicaps. How would you manoeuvre a mixed-use masterplan through Brussels's labyrinth of public administration? Could temporary public spaces pave the way for the future development of Ninoofsepoort, a complex traffic junction at the western entrance of ‘the pentagon’ – Brussels’ historic centre? In collaboration with Bral and pyblik, Play the City will simulate temporar...

    Posted by: Ekim Tan, 27 Sep 2013,11:56

Limburg ThinkTank

‘Staten-Generaal II’ Public Consultation

The States General II event will formulate its own agenda for the future of City of Limburg through a public consultation process.

The event aims to formulate a new spatial model that does justice to the open, fragmented landscape of Limburg's diverse communities and the urgent employment problems in the area.

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