The Mechanics of Playful Participatory Processes

Publication, 2015


C. Ampatzidou, K. Gugerell, J. Diephuis - The Mechanics of Playful Participatory Processes - Design, Social Media and Technology to Foster Civic Self-Organisation, Hasselt, Belgium, 2015, pp. 185-197


With the increasing interest of local governments in civic participation, it becomes important to explore the available methods for orchestrating participatory processes and evaluate how different tools address some of the common issues associated with participatory processes. Game design is an expanding field where systems thinking is put to practice by combining simple mechanics into full game experiences. This paper argues that urban planners will be able to improve the coherence and overall experience of participatory processes by thinking of participatory tools in terms of separate game mechanics, which when used in balance, create a compelling player/participant experience. In doing so, some of the challenges faced by existing participatory frameworks can be addressed. The potentials and challenges of approaching the design of participatory processes as a game design process are discussed in the framework of three case studies in the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.