Beneficiary / Participants
Mestni vizionar was tested with different groups (students, architects, NGOs). The Print & Play format of the resource is freely available online for everyone who would like to try it.
A board game that builds a vision of public space.
Description of the method
Board games are becoming an increasingly popular tool to engage in a debate about complex issues. Calls for public engagement of inhabitants and other participants to co-create public spaces can also bring up multiple challenges. Even if more and more experts support public participation and transparency of planning process, traditional methods for inclusion of the public remain uninteresting for residents. Presentations of plans, moderated public debates and surveys are a rather dry insight into otherwise interesting topics. On the other hand, board games are based on a predetermined set of rules and mechanisms, such as role-playing, planning, negotiation, resource management and conflict resolution. Much like in a game, similar mechanisms and “rules” are present in real life and in the decision-making process of urban development. That is why board games can be a good platform to involve residents in the decision-making process.
Defining the location: at the beginning of each game the players pick one public space for the discussion. They can either decide on a specific location (e.g. a local square) or a broader location (e.g. all roundabouts). They can choose between suggested locations or pick a completely new one. Personal memories: Each player shares a personal memory connected with the chosen public space. This phase helps the players to get to know each other. Important topics: The Game Manager shuffles the cards with topics (e.g. Cultural heritage, gentrification, social inclusion etc.) and puts 6 of them in front of the other players. Players put their figures (handed out at the start) on the topics which are important to them. Other players have to explain why a certain topic might be important to the person who chose it. Explanations are then evaluated by the “owner” of the topic. Vision: Players have to prepare a vision for public space based on the topics, which were overlooked in the previous phase.
2-3 hours for the longer version, 1.5 hours for the shorter version + extra time for feedback
- 23 cards with urban topics
- 25 cards with public spaces
- 12 empty cards for new public spaces
- paper and pencil
- 4 playing figures per player
- Game Manager