(2016 – ongoing)


Daniel T. Boy und Karsten Michael Drohsel


Gamicipation is participation made better with play.
Trust in governance is eroding all over the world. Participation is one key technique in politics (especially in urban design) to win back the lost trust. Participation means involving citizens in decisions that will affect them. We – the urbansupergroup – like participation and think about ways to make it even better. With games. This we call: gamicipation. 

For us gamicipation is
a) a practice to make participation better, that we stumbled upon in our own work;
b) now also a theoretical framework, that enables the critical analysis of very different use cases.
We identified 5+1 different flavors of play that can be used for participation.

1) Play can be a fun door opener to get access to hard to reach groups;
2) it can change the atmosphere and bring people in a playful/ cooperative/ competitive mood;
3) the rules of play can stabilize the structure of a process;
4) players are enabled to step out of the usual perceptual and social boundaries and see/think differently, be more creative;
5) and because of their nature as rule systems games can make us experience complex systems in an abridged version and still understand central aspects (SimCity has not a lot to do with the real work of a mayor. But among other things it drives home the concepts of zoning and support infrastructure.)

And the +1) are effects you get „for free“: engagement and spillover. Participatory processes are having almost always trouble in engaging their target audience. Fun is a core element of games that is why they more the opposite problem. Furthermore playing games create stories that spillover into the real lives of the players because interesting stories are more likely to be shared.

We presented our ideas at the re:publica 2017

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