Cards Against Urbanity looks to gamify the city designing process in the hopes of encouraging everyday citizens to actively participate in smart urban planning.
Large art sculptures next to freeways. Light shows on the side of buildings. Free Wifi on the streets. These days, urban planners have a stack of aces up their sleeves to improve our urban spaces and help a city leave an impression on residents and visitors alike. But what about getting basic city planning – such as proper water management, mobility, power supply and the like – to resonate with the masses? Unlike art installations and Wifi hotspots, these are the kinds of things that go unnoticed and can be taken for granted in some parts of the world – until they stop working for one reason or another.
CEO and cofounder of GreaterPlaces (a company which brings together all the key players in urban planning), Lisa Nisenson, wanted to try and entice people to engage more with the urban design process and in 2014 teamed up with think tank DoTank DC to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the very cheekily-named, Cards Against Urbanity.
A more city-focused, less crude (but no less witty) version of the popular Cards Against Humanity, Cards Against Urbanity features cards with partly blanked questions or statements and users must fill in the blanks using one of the available response cards. For example, one card says ‘My city’s latest economic plan includes _______________’ and players must select a response card (which could feature anything as jovial as ‘man caves’ or ‘the word vibrant’) to fill in the blank.
It’s all just a bit of fun but the benefit of the game is that it gets people sitting down and talking about their city from a planning perspective, regardless of how irreverent the conversation actually is. The team received almost four times their funding goal via Kickstarter. Backers of the campaign received decks of cards late last year and if you are interested in playing yourself, GreaterPlaces offers a DIY version to make at home.