Playing games? It’s a serious way to win community backing for change

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle in specialist publication


Serious Gaming methods and tools show great promise in helping to obtain a ‘licence’ from communities for change in their urban environments. They can be deployed toward achieving highly effective community and stakeholder engagement overcoming the limitations of conventional approaches.

Effectively engaging communities in the development of spatial plans, policies and projects gives them agency and responsibility in the decisions which effect the future of their neighbourhoods, towns and cities. Taking ownership of the outcomes works towards achieving inclusive, healthy and environmentally responsible places. Serious Gaming is an inclusive, playful and collaborative way of achieving this. Games are fun! The supporting media is highly appealing.

We have developed and applied a range of games at different scales for different urban contexts that are unique in that they use three dimensional scaled and interactive physical models. The three dimensional scaled nature of the games allows community members with a range of spatial abilities and literacy to get highly involved in debates and decisions about their built environment.
The physical, tactile approach is advantageous across a number of the engagement objectives but particularly in terms of appeal and enabling a collaborative approach – who doesn’t love a good board game! It is rare that the documentation of engagement activities doesn’t include someone in a playful mood. This article uses evidence from real world applications on the front line of urban change working with communities and local governments.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2019


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