Mariina Hallikainen

Is the gaming approach a possible tool for citizen inclusion?

Gaming platforms as tools for town planning in the real world

Colossal Order is a nineteen-people game developer company based in Tampere, Finland, which focus its research on simulations, basically reproducing events and processes of the real world into a gaming platform with a modest addition of fun. “City: Skylines” is their main title, with 2 million copies sold worldwide, and it brings the entire city development under player’s control. Making the game entertaining and engaging was actually a challenge for us as we discovered that people are actually interested in their own habitats, trying to reproduce familiar environments to bring a positive contribution. Actually, town planning, in its complexity, is a lengthy process and people complains for not being involved. Therefore, gamification could be a solution and we encourage municipalities to include citizens in the planning process through shareable gaming platforms.

Gaming platforms can actually provide ideas and suggestions for the development of a city

Pilot projects in Hämeenlinna (Finland) and Stockholm (Sweden) have proved that citizen’s participation is possible through videogames and the results are unforeseen and helpful for the city builder to a better understanding of the site. Currently, the platforms are developed for the gaming industries so they are fun first and second realism, several simplifications take place, but the process is just at the beginning. These two cases studies, in fact, open the discussion on how to create tools for the community to be part of the city’s development and we, at Colossal Order, are sure that in the future citizens are going to be the ones actually creating habitats.

by Mariina Hallikainen