Playful Urban Futuring

How can we envision and experiment with playful future alternatives for urban life?


As our planet is rapidly urbanizing, techno-utopian visions of future urban life are gaining considerable traction. However, numerous people argue that envisioning and shaping our urban future is a challenge of the imagination rather than a technological challenge. “What if?” is the key imaginative question. What if things were different? Instead of tech-driven scenarios, we need to turn to more imaginative playful urban futuring. Imaginative and playful media, design, and artistic interventions, we argue, may foster criticality (questioning the status quo), speculation (opening up possible alternatives), and performativity (producing potential realities). The notion of a playful or playable city has been proposed as a research and design agenda aiming to deploy play and games to harness citizen creativity in city-making. It promotes a people-centric view of (smart) cities in which citizens themselves learn, negotiate and create innovations through play and games.

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