Lessons from Game Design: Understanding Participatory Processes through Game Mechanics

Cristina Ampatzidou, Katharina Gugerell, Jeremiah Diephuis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contribution


With the increasing interest of local governments in civic participation, it becomes important to explore the available methods for orchestrating participatory processes and evaluate how different tools address some of the common issues associated with participatory processes. Game design is an expanding field where systems thinking is put to practice by combining simple mechanics into full game experiences. This paper argues that urban planners will be able to improve the coherence and overall experience of participatory processes by thinking of participatory tools in terms of separate game mechanics, which when used in balance, create a compelling player/participant experience. In doing so, some of the challenges faced by existing participatory frameworks can be addressed. The potentials and challenges of approaching the design of participatory processes as a game design process are discussed in the framework of three case studies in the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHybrid City: Data to the People
PublisherUniversity Research Institute of Applied Communication
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventHybrid City: Data to the People - Athens, Greece
Duration: 17 Sept 201519 Sept 2015


ConferenceHybrid City: Data to the People
Internet address


  • game mechanics
  • participatory planning
  • process design


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