Digital Serious Games for Civic Engagement in Urban Planning

  • 2013-06-28
  • Research

Case Studies and Research Challenges. A talk by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alenka Poplin, Hafen City University Hamburg


In our research we study the design and implementation of digital serious games for civic engagement in urban planning. Digital serious games are games that aim to support learning in a playful and engaging way. Learning about the environment and planned changes is essential in civic engagement. We study different games stories, representation of the objects in the game and their usability for urban planning and for a variety of user`s groups involved in participatory processes.

The study case is taken from a city district Billstedt, in Hamburg, Germany. In the implementation of a game concept we concentrated on the design of a marketplace in Billstedt. The game was titled “B3 - Design your Marketplace!” The B3 game aims to provide a playful digital environment in which the citizens gain information about the current situation in the city district, have the possibility to submit their own designs of the marketplace, vote for the preferred designs and chat with the experts and other participants.

We evaluated the prototype of the B3 serious game with a group of students and elderly people. The majority of the participants involved in testing expressed appreciation for the digital serious game as a new form of online civic engagement in urban planning.

I will conclude the presentation with a discussion about the potential of digital serious games for civic engagement and open research questions.


This talk is organized by the Human Computer Interaction Group at the Institute for Design and Assessment of Technology.


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