purpose: Reflecting social dynamics in Utrecht’s Overvecht, a neighborhood in need of special attention due high percentage [75%] of social housing
client: City of Utrecht
engagement: 400 stakeholders
project duration: September 2016–September 2018
With 80 new residents per week, Utrecht is the fastest growing city of the Netherlands and is among the top 10 in Europe. Overvecht, a postwar settlement with a 60% migrant population and 72% social housing stock, is the ultimate arrival town in Utrecht. While Overvecht enjoys a large amount of cultural diversity and a mix of support systems aimed at a diverse residential base, it is also in need of further measures. This concerns the many energetic youngsters who are in need of adequate guidance, or the lonely elderly who could channel their experience towards guiding the community's youth.
Since the fall of 2016, a city-game - Discover Overvecht - has been in the making for residents and newcomers in Overvecht. Playing the game, once or several times, will enable players to grapple with the intricate realities of this arrival city. Based on an extensive database of local services and initiatives engaging directly with Overvechters, Discover Overvecht could be the funnest way of improving one's local spatial literacy, creating more active and proactive citizens in Overvecht, and improving the district in the process. Game designers of Discover Overvecht, themselves migrant architectural designers from Istanbul, Barcelona and Durban explain: “Since we first arrived in Overvecht, it just continues to surprise us. We are truly inspired by the scale and complexity of activities organized by residents and local entrepreneurs, as well as by local government and housing companies. Elevating Overvecht is a constant struggle that must be fought each day, and we are proud if this game can inspire positive change in the lives of Overvechters.”