Nextbangalore City Game

How to build a city?

The Bangalorian NGO Fields of View is specialized in cooperative game theory in urban development. On Saturday, September 28th 2013 the Nextbangalore:Space was host for an extensive game session. The idea of the City Game, designed by Dr. Juval Portugali, is to explore urban forms and preferences in a cooperative way. Played in rounds it enables each player to act and react within an urban building process. The game encourages the players to negotiate conflicts in city planning and makes the evolution of the design process visible. Besides, it also creates a creative dynamic that usually is absent in traditional design processes.

All players are placed in a circle around a simplified map of Bangalore (or any other city) that only shows greenery and water areas. But the participants can remove even these parts. The rules of the game are quite simple: one by one can add or remove building blocks (little wooden blocks in various sizes and shapes). Only one goal was given: design a city your like to live in.

This session started by building a town hall as a city centre and round by round the “dream city” grows, consisting an art district, an university-campus, various housing projects, leisure- and recreational zones, train-stations and train lines, electric car highways and a city area just for kids.

The game session lasts for roundabout 1,5 hours showing a nearly complete city. The moderated discussion afterwards collects the diversity in interpretation and the different ideas of the participants. From their expertise Fields of View gave their qualified feedback by analysing the building process, the interaction between the “builders” and the outcome. Also it was highly interesting to learn how different groups from different academic and cultural background act during a game session.

The game itself opens the view for urban development and city planning and the (necessary) interaction between building processes and social and cultural questions. It very much helps not only to understand a city itself, but also the processes and interactions in urban planning – and of course: urban development can be enjoyable.

Only one question remains open: is this really the city, we like to live in?

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