A new way to engage citizens in a collaborative framework has been tested at the SMART Infrastructure Facility as an innovative approach to designing urban precincts.

Prioritisation of pedestrian areas, embracing the potential for more after-hours options, and a re-envisioning of green areas are just some of the things suggested by Arki_lab in their recent report on Wollongong’s CBD.

Following a week of workshops hosted at SMART in June of this year, Danish architects and urban designers Rasmus and Jeanette Frisk have compiled their findings from a Wollongong version of Arki_nopoly. Inspired by popular board game Monopoly, Arki_nopoly is a citizen-involvement tool designed by the Copenhagen-based group that gamifies urban planning in order to facilitate participation and engagement of users of the space.

Assisted by the collaborative efforts of Wollongong City Council, who supported SMART with a hypothetical precinct for gamers to ‘plan’, the Arki_nopoly workshops saw a variety of stakeholders and users discuss the environment, criticize it and see its beauties.

“The Arki_Nopoly workshops demonstrated the potential of serious gaming to support inclusive urban planning,” explained Professor Pascal Perez, Director, SMART Infrastructure Facility.

This visit also gave Arki_nopoly’s creators and SMART researchers the opportunity to investigate the possibility of digitising the tool and utilising it on a larger scale, as Professor Perez described: “Our current collaboration with Arki_Lab to digitise the game will allow for more communities and Local Councils to appropriate this type of approach.”

For more information about the Wollongong version of the game, and to read the report, click here.