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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19034

Title: Civic Participation: Serious Games and Spatial Capacity Building
Authors: CONSTANTINESCU, Teodora
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: School of Architecture, Design & Environment and i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art and Technology), Plymouth University
Citation: Willis, Katharine S.; Aurigi, Alessandro; Phillips, Mike; Corino, Gianni (Ed.). Proceedings MEDIACITY 5 International Conference, Workshops and Urban Interventions, p. 263-279
Abstract: Capacity building refers to the process of improving the ability of a person, group, organization, or institute to meet a set of stated objectives (Brown et al., 2001). Spatial capacity building can take form in participatory ways, with many participants that need to be understood and involved in order to come to new ways of seeing spatial issues, relationships and options (Forester, 2000). When addressing complex urban projects, the variety of stakeholders that is required has a direct impact on the quality of the project, the budget and the power to speed it up or slow it down. Trying to overcome these challenges, policy makers have been experimenting with different participatory forms of governance, but were confronted with the lack of motivation among players (persons, organizations, …), inability to foster long term engagement and actors involvement. Having the ability to foster cooperation and understanding, games have been used as a tool to ease this process. Participation is described by Pelle Ehn as a meeting point between language games of people with each their expertise (1988). In this paper we review three serious games that serve as potential tools for fostering civic learning and collective efficacy in participatory processes. Civic learning emphasizes active participation in the process of public decision making and establishment of public policies (Gordon & Baldwin-Philippi, 2014, p. 770), while coming to understand the relation between semantic and social patterns across the broad span of economic activities, social media, public and private actors. Collective efficacy on the other hand, is “the linkage of mutual trust and the willingness to intervene for the common good that defines the neighborhood context of collective efficacy. Just as individuals vary in their capacity for efficacious action, so too do neighborhoods vary in their capacity to achieve common goals” (Sampson et al., 1997, p. 919). Looking at games such as Participatory Chinatown and SprintCity we can analyze the importance digital role-play games have on transforming face-to-face community meetings into usable feedback for the planning processes and creating mutual visibility among institutions and individuals. Rezone challenge the players to not just pursue individual self-interest but to strategically collaborate in order to make decision for the common good. The games experiment in areas of public communication and social organization where different stakeholders collaborate on problems that can’t be solved through present regulations alone. Social feedback loops based on participatory processes and analysis of data can be an effective catalyst for increasing collective reflection and collective action. Their main goal is to create and establish a dialogue between individuals and institutions to identify, discuss, and act on pressing societal problems. Thus, the paper researches to what extent serious games play a role in generating collective efficacy and civic learning and apply those findings to complex societal issues.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19034
ISBN: 9789491789137
Category: C1
Type: Proceedings Paper
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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