Digital Gaming Mechanics for Urban Planning

KeynoteTalks – Case Netherlands

14-15 December 2018
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Gallery of Science and Technology, Djure Jakšića 3, Belgrade, Serbia

Add to Calendar
12/14/2018 10:00 AM
12/15/2018 4:00 PM


Digital Gaming Mechanics for Urban Planning: The Case of OMG! meet-up (Milena Ivković)

Broader civic participation has been perceived as one of the most important sustainable urban development tools in the contemporary context. From the UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, to the national planning bodies to the local municipal planning policy-makers, the professionals place their focus clearly on facilitating the so-called “user-generated” city.

In the context of the Netherlands, the new Environmental Law (De Omgevingswet, which is to be applied from the 2020) will provide a legal framework for the more participative, integral planning. This development opens a possibility to approach the traditional (often perceived as tedious) public-consultation trajectories in a new way, using the language of digital culture and applying gaming mechanics.

Inspired by the possibilities the new Environmental Law has for the Dutch planning practice and civic participation, Blok74, a Rotterdam-based urban design office, initiated the OMG! project (OMG being the short acronym of the Omgevingswet). The project uses the gamification of the planning process as a way to encourage better communication and helps understand the built environment in a more clear way. The different stakeholders become players with a mission to develop a neighbourhood, a city of a region, similar to the well-known SIM city building games.

At the core of the interactive meet-up is the OMG! custom-made application. The goal of the application is to serve as a fast-tracking device to record the dynamics of the collaborative spatial model building (which happens in an analogue way during the meet-up, using a table and iconic representations of different building programmes) The graphic features of the application use the aesthetics borrowed from the digital gaming world: different stakeholders are represented with avatars, there is a point-vote system to find out which spatial solution is the best, and there is a leader board to show how successful are the participants in building the collaborative model.

By using a particular mixture of traditional model building and digital visualisation, the OMG! meet-up aims to improve public consultations, harvest design ideas and guide the planning stakeholders meetings.

Ir. Milena Ivković,
MSc Arch is a researcher and designer with an academic and practical experience in the field of urban planning. After spending several years as the assistant at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Milena continued her career in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She immediately started working at the design and planning department of the Municipality of Rotterdam, and later moved to the renowned Rotterdam-based office Kuiper Compagnons. Milena Ivković is currently in charge of the Urban Planning Advisory Teams of the ISOCARP (International Society of Regional and City Planners).

Within her own practice Blok74 (Rotterdam, NL) Milena is busy with developing new urban planning tools, based on gamification and collaborative design. Her practice focuses on improving the dialogue between the citizens, design professionals and planning authorities using various digital and analogue immersive instruments. Milena also writes and publishes on the topic of participative urbanism and tools for citizens’ engagement, as well as on the issues of the new urban challenges and the ever-changing role of planners.

Blok74 is a Dutch-based office dedicated to exploring new instruments to accelerate innovation in urban planning. The profession of urban planner is changing, contemporary urban challenges are growing – new planning and communication instruments can help to understand the built environment in a more clear way. The office deliberately uses applied games as an inspiration to design specific planning workshops when certain topics such as sustainability, cross-sectoral working or traditional public participation can not  be sufficiently explored by the traditional planning mediums.