purpose: Setting up a showcase CityLab for Toroslar district in Mersin focusing on circular development
partner: Mersin University
client: Dutch Stimulation Fund for Creative Industries
engagement: 80 actors including local experts and community organizations
project duration: March 2018–September 2019
Play the City establishes Mersin CityLab in collaboration with the University of Mersin to become the integral and collaborative planning space of diverse organizations and individuals. The project addresses two urgent aspects within current urban planning agenda: firstly, it aims to create long-term cultural change towards collaborative decision making in city planning. Secondly, the Citylab proposes to focus on circular systems thinking as an alternative to the current short-term approach in urban transformation. This project has come to existence within the framework of the internationalization program facilitated by the Dutch Stimulation Fund for Creative Industries.
City Gaming as a Backbone for the CityLab
Mersin CityLab practices a collaborative city planning method within an existing planning regime where top-down practices prevail. It is the space for thinking and strategizing city futures by formal and informal actors of city development. By joining Play the City’s City Gaming sessions, involved parties are able to exchange knowledge and mature a Circular Manifesto [a long term vision] throughout the year. With every game iteration, a new set of research, invited Dutch and Turkish experts and actor set meets to synthesize knowledge and ideas for circular development of Toroslar district. These interactive, strategic meetings are accompanied with hands-on workshops [short term direct actions] the following day run by experts.
Content generated collectively will be reported systematically and will feed the evolving content of the Circular Manifesto. Parallel to this process, Mersin University is launching a design studio offered to 30 final grade students who will contribute with new knowledge to the process. This project set-up is meant to exercise a public debate and knowledge-sharing process that involves a full range of parties - from academics to private developers, and from local politicians and NGO's to cultural organizations and the professional planning office of the local governments.