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"Schouten, B.A.M." <[log in to unmask]>
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Schouten, B.A.M.
Tue, 4 Feb 2020 17:32:47 +0000
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Urban Play and the Playable City: A Critical Perspective
A workshop held as part of the Digital Games Research Association 2020 Conference (DiGRA 2020)
2 June 2020, Tampere, Finland


Call for Participation

Recently the notion of the playable city has emerged as a counterpoint to the “smart city” whereby the array of sensors and actuators that enable smart city infrastructure can be harnessed to create novel interactions and playful experiences within the city by lending an ear to trees, giving a voice to park benches, stairs and garbage cans or reviving the shadows that pass in the night thereby enabling a host of new interactions and experiences and raising new challenges and concerns about distraction and duplicity.

Building on three previous workshops that focused specifically on the notion of the playable city and that were held as part of Intetain 2016, Intetain 2017 and ArtsIT 2018, In this full-day workshop held as part of the Digital Games Research Association 2020 Conference (DiGRA 2020<>), we aim to compare and contrast the various forms of play that occur in urban environments from simple hide and seek games to augmented reality games such as Pokémon Go and The Walking Dead: Our World with the notion of the playable city, i.e. urban installations or environments in which the sensors, actuators and digital communication networks that form the backbone of smart city infrastructure are used to create novel interfaces and interventions intended to inject fun and playfulness into the urban environment both as a simple source of pleasure and as a means of facilitating and fostering urban and social interactions while exploring current innovations and the future potential of the ideas and technologies involved with the intent of producing an edited volume of the collected articles and ideas.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

• Play in the city – reimagining the playground and the notion of urban play

• Play with the city – incorporating play and playfulness into the very fabric of the city

• Play for the city – using play and gamification to address urban issues from infrastructure maintenance to social and environmental issues

• Are we playing with the city or being played with? Critical perspectives on the notion of the playable city

• Wearable technology and the (smart) city

• The autonomous vehicle as a mobile playground or an urban plaything

• Interactive street art, augmented storytelling and other forms of urban “play”

Prospective participants should submit an anonymized position paper (which may be up to ~5000 words, excluding references) as a PDF file created using the Microsoft Word<> or Latex<> DiGRA submission template via easychair<> by 10th February 2020. All submissions will undergo a blind peer review process and will be selected based on their quality and relevance to the workshop with an eye for future publication as part of an edited volume. At least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop and pay the appropriate DiGRA 2020 registration fee.<><>

Important Dates

Submission Deadline: 10 February 2020

Notification Deadline: 18 February 2020

Workshop Date: 2 June 2020


A detailed schedule for the workshop will be provided after the notification deadline


Anton Nijholt

Anton Nijholt has interest in human-computer interaction, entertainment computing, affective computing, humor research and brain-computer interfacing. He is authors of hundreds of research papers in these areas. He has been program chair or general chair of many international conferences and workshops devoted to these topics. Nijholt is chief-editor of the specialty section Human-media Interaction of Frontiers in Psychology and he is series editor of the Springer Book Series on Gaming Media and Social Effects. Nijholt is editor of the 2016 book: Playable Cities: The City as a Digital Playground. A second edited book on Playable Cities will appear in 2019.


Yoram Chisik

Yoram Chisik is a digital media researcher, information technology catalyst and thinker of errant thoughts. His research explores the nature and meaning of technological interactions in the digital age. Prior to engaging in an academic career he worked as a Geographical Information Science (GIS) consultant advising government agencies and corporations on the potential and application of GIS technology and developing GIS based software solutions. Chisik is a past chair of the Advances in Computer Entertainment Technologies (ACE) conference that hosted the first conference on Animal Computer Interaction in 2014 and Intetain which hosted a series of workshops on playable cities, an associate editor of the specialty section Human-media Interaction of Frontiers and an adjunct lecturer at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.


Ben Schouten

Ben Schouten is Full Professor of Playful Interactions in Intelligent Systems at TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands. In addition, he is scientific director of education at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He is an advisor for the European Commission on the Internet of Things as well as for the Dutch Cultural Media Fund, responsible for E-culture. Schouten is interested in games & play design for social innovations, citizen empowerment and culture. Schouten was a co-founder of the Games for Health Conference series and has co-edited several scientific volumes, such as the proceedings of the 5th International Joint Conference of Ambient Intelligence and the thematic issue of the Journal of Ambient Intelligent Systems (2013), on playful Interactions and Serious Games.


Mattia Thibault

Mattia Thibault is a member of the Gamification Group at the University of Tampere. He holds a PhD in Semiotics and Media from Turin University, and has been visiting researcher at Tartu University, The Strong Museum of Play, and Helsinki University. His research interests revolve around the semiotics of play, toys, the cultural relevance of games and gamification. He is currently ER of the project ReClaim (Marie Sklodowska Curie IF), dealing with urban gamification and playable cities.


Further Information

For further information or questions contact Anton Nijholt at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Prof. Dr. Ben Schouten BA
Playful Interactions
Systemic Change group, Department of Industrial Design
Eindhoven University of Technology
P.O Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven
Atlas, floor 7, room 7.101 (Building 3)
The Netherlands

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