Public Board Meeting Play the City

On the 16th of December 2012, The Play the City organized an open board meeting attended by a curious, young and joyful audience.

Design As Politics Students

TU Delft Architecture Students during the public launch event Play the City Foundation

A public board meeting took place on this day combined with an informal brainstorm with the audience. This was done so the audience could listen and participate in the discussion concerning the future direction of Play the City.

Invited experts were Wouter Vanstiphout [Prof. at the TUDelft's Design as Politics studio], Christian Ernsten [partner of Partizan Publiek], Evert Verhagen, independent advisor, Egbert Fransen [director of Pakhuis de Zwijger], Michiel de Lange [co-founder of The Mobile City], Brendan Cormier, [editor Volume], Azadeh Mashayekhi [phd TU Delft] and students and mentors of Design As Politics Studio of TU Delft.

Ekim Tan, founder of Play the City, introduced the public mission of the foundation. She argued that 'Play the City could have the role of helping cities become more transparent. Although small, the organization could have a large impact on democratizing city planning.’ To start the debate she posed following questions:

‘How can the Play the City foundation grow into an inclusive public platform? Who could be possible partners of Play the City to introduce interactive planning into the legal procedures of Dutch Urbanism? Are city games of Play the City better fit for questions of Urban Renewal or Urban Growth?’

Local versus Global

As a response, Wouter Vanstiphout questioned which scale Play the City needs to operate in. According the Vanstiphout, Play the City has been active in too many cases given its short history. Tirana, Istanbul, the Hague, Amsterdam, Almere... Instead he proposes a focussed local project which delivers positive impact and therefore spreads mouth to mouth. Christian Ernsten supported the idea. The realism of a local project will be more convincing where Play the City plays the role of a constant party guiding a long-term multiplayer process. Evert Verhagen, however, opposed the idea of localism mainly because of the low level complexity of urban tasks one would find in the Netherlands in comparison to Tirana, Istanbul, London or Moscow.
Play the City believes that the local engagement will help in further realization of our ideas. Global projects, on the other hand, are obligatory in confronting complex and relevant urban questions.

Complexity versus Simplicity

Verhagen’s remark brought the discussion to the simplicity and complexity of the urban questions in our work. Vanstiphout argued that Play the City is simplifying complex situations through using carefully designed, transparent, multiplayer interfaces. Vanstiphout stated that the strength of Play the City method lies is analyzing complex situations, breaking them down into simpler sub-questions, and involving engaged parties by informing them properly.

Renewal versus Growth

Following the arguments of complexity and simplicity, the brainstorm group questioned whether urban renewal or urban growth tasks are more suitable for Play the City’s methods. Given the already engaged stakeholders and the history of an evolving urban situation, the group reached the consensus that urban renewal would be a more relevant question for Play the City to undertake rather than one dimensional future growth, or empty urban land development.

Next Steps of the Foundation in 2013

Play the City foundation will be building the public event space to continue public debates on community building, planning temporary use, interactive urban renewal and digital urbanism. We will place this in the framework of the Freezing Favela project

Play the City will be making an inventory of ongoing urban renewal questions and relevant stakeholders from local and central governments, housing corporations, market parties, collectives and individuals.

Play the City foundation will organize a series of public meetings in Pakhuis de Zwijger to define the role of designers and planners in fast evolving field of Digital Interactive Urbanism.