The Playable City Project is a global initiative intended to link up those from different cultures and communities by way of urban play, which employs modern technology to initiate a social dialogue amongst citizens regarding the development of their own city.

The Playable City Network is a widening global network of cities, including Tokyo, Oxford, Austin, Seoul, Lagos, and Melbourne. Melbourne’s initial playable city meeting occurred during the Melbourne International Games Week, with the city welcoming designers, urban planners and artists from across the globe.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s senior research fellow Dr Troy Innocent, in acknowledging the introduction of the global urban play community to the city, reflected that the playable city civic engagement program can enhance public spaces and infrastructure and connect individuals to their home cities and one another. He points out that these playable cities reimagine and revitalize their communities through a combination of play, creative technologies, public art and urban design.

RMIT researchers such as N’arweet Carolyn Briggs created TIMeR, a narrated audiowalk that details RMIT’s hidden Indigenous history and encourages listeners to reconceptualise RMIT’s City campus. Participants are invited to scan geometric tags around campus to hear tales that explore alternate cartographies of the landscape, giving them a whole new perspective on familiar places.

Innocent credits this combination of ancient knowledge and new technology with forming the foundations for connections created through playable cities.

And Hilary O’Shaughnessy, representative of the UK-based digital creativity centre, Watershed, says that this program will evolve Melbourne from a thriving, multi-cultural city to a playable city.

During Melbourne International Games Week, 64 Ways of Being presented the first Playable City Melbourne experience. It featured live art, augmented reality and gaming technology, a related free mobile app morphing Melbourne into a large-scale playable city, with players exploring and connecting with the city at 64 locations.

64 Ways of Being is produced as a collaborative effort between live arts group Innocent, game developer Millipede, and Watershed.