Prof. Andy Hudson-Smith and I are editing a special issue on games, gaming technologies, and urban planning. Although the journal is mainly about urban planning topics, we really want this special issue to be an opportunity for a dialogue between urban planners and the gaming community. We are very keen to receive and include game designers' narratives and views on the potentials games and gaming technologies present for understanding and planning for cities.
I added the call for paper at the end of this email. Please let us know if you are interested and I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have regarding the scope of the issue or the submission process.
Raser (1969), in his book on simulation gaming and society, conceptualized 'models' as 'toys' and argued for 'messing around' with artificial worlds as a legitimate way of knowing societies and planning for them. He wrote: "serious scholars approach serious, even crucial, problems by creating artificial worlds in a manner not entirely dissimilar to that of children playing house or building a space-ship out of cardboard cartons and chairs" (Raser, 1969, p. viii). Artificial worlds today have become highly complex. They collide via augmented and mixed reality into the physical spaces, mixing the real with the virtual. With worlds existing and manipulated within the computer, participatory creation and interaction with these artificial worlds have also evolved to become complex multi-user immersive experiences. Advanced computer graphics, along with new models of collaboration and participation continue to present notable potentials for urban planning. Running alongside physical urban models through to serious participatory games and diorama-like landscapes through to 'drag and drop' digital towns, Batty and Hudson-Smith (2001), the underlying premise remains the same; play, for the sake of knowledge creation around places and spaces. It is this mix of visualisation and play, either digital, physical or mixed reality that we argue is central to the future of public participation in planning.
The gaming approach to planning is not about the marching on of technology or the use of technology for technology's sake. It is about application and gaming as theory for urban planning. It is about practicing and learning to play the game and to listen to the outcomes and in doing so discovering the untapped potentials of Urban Planning in shaping the next era of Human to Computer and Human to Human Participation. Games, gaming technologies, and the gaming frame of mind have never disappeared from planning's practice and theory since they first appeared in urban planning's classrooms in the 1940s. Indeed, they have been influenced by and have influenced planning practices and theory for over 80 years (Raser, 1969; Duke & Greenblat, 1975; Light, 2008; Feldt, 2014; Tan, 2014; Dodig & Groat, 2019). Building upon this, this thematic issue seeks to explore the value of games beyond their value as a standalone technology to unravel the many ways in which games, gaming technologies, and game design practices have impacted the way we visualize and interact with cities, abstract and deal with the complexity of urban phenomena, and communicate future narratives. As such, we invite papers that address the following topics: game theory and urban planning, interactive narrative design and world-building, storytelling in planning, physical games and planning, game engines for urban visualisation, digital twins, and finally, urban modelling and simulation.
Batty M, Hudson-Smith A (2001), Virtuality and Cities: Definitions, Geographies, Designs, Taylor and Francis.Fisher PF, Unwin D, Taylor and Francis.
Dodig, M. B., & Groat, L. N. (Eds.). (2019). The Routledge Companion to Games in Architecture and Urban Planning: Tools for Design, Teaching, and Research. Routledge.
Duke, R. D., & Greenblat, C. S. (Eds.). (1975). Gaming-simulation: Rationale, Design, and Applications: a Text with Parallel Readings for Social Scientists, Educators, and Community Workers. Sage.
Feldt, A. G. (2014). Experience with simulation/gaming: 1960-2010. Simulation & Gaming, 45(3), 283-305.
Light, J. (2008). Taking games seriously. Technology and Culture, 49(2), 347-375.
Raser, J. R. (1969). Simulation and society: An exploration of scientific gaming. Allyn and Bacon, Inc.
Tan, E. (2014). Negotiation and design for the self-organizing city: Gaming as a method for urban design. TU Delft.