New course: “Playful City” (game design + neighborhood impact)

playful-city-aris

Playtesting some quick prototypes using the ARIS engine

This semester I’m piloting a new course called “Playful City: designing media for stronger neighborhoods and community impact.”

We have MA students from the AU Game Lab, as well as some advanced undergrads.

PREMISE: Play on urban streets can introduce neighbors, retell history, and deepen our sense of place. From PR to activism, the battle for neighborhood identity is increasingly waged with media. Some of the most innovative strategies are emerging with game-based activities and pervasive media.

Official description: Students will create original games and activities, with no programming required (just a passion for neighborhoods and media). This course will emphasize games as community strategy, especially by learning from activities we design.
• Prototyping will involve simple tools for embedding media in communities, from bus stops and text message clues, to oral history at listening booths.
• Playtesting will reflect on social implications from tourism and economic development, to race relations and gentrification, local history and community organizing.

In sum, this course will tap communication strategies for behavioral change, collective storytelling and building group identity. We will reflect on how games are different than other strategies, from allowing transgression to crossing generations and reclaiming space.

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