15. Jul 2016

Competition: Playable City Award 2016

Text: Jo-Eike Vomittag

The team organising the “Playable City Award”, which includes a commission to the tune of £ 30 000, have made it their task and goal to focus attention on the people living and working in rapidly expanding cities around the world.  Now, for the fourth year running, they are inviting artists, designers, architects, urbanists, interaction designers, technologists and creative practitioners from anywhere in the world to submit their innovative ideas for projects by 31. August, 2016.


With more than half the world’s population now living in cities, it is becoming increasingly important to invest in transport infrastructure in the even bigger, more hectic and more modern future cities that are developing. But infrastructure and technology are often prioritised over user experience. The way people feel when out and about in the urban landscape day after day, how they spend their time and meet or connect with each other while so doing – that all fades into the background. User experience is rarely part of the process to create something new. Watershed, the initiator of the relatively young but successful award, have become known as an active urban network. Once again, they are looking for globally-facing projects which start new conversations, imagine new futures and make new connections across the city. Creative ideas should address how to re-appropriate city infrastructure and make use of creative technologies, the goal being to make our cities more liveable, hopeful and collaborative spaces.

In the densely populated areas of the world it is becoming more and more important to be able to get from A to B safe and sound, because at the same time it is becoming increasingly difficult to cope with the conditions. Traffic and means of transport is important everywhere to ensure people are not having to commute back and forth four hours a day, as is the case in Lagos/NG. In other places, there are days when the roads are closed for traffic for a short time to allow cyclists and pedestrians to move around more easily, and sharing programmes are pretty widespread nowadays too. Given this year’s themes of “Journeys”, ideas could revolve around aspects such as waiting times, crossings, wayfinding, connectivity, transit, transport interchanges, and so on.

ONLINE_Urbanimals_Playable City Award Winner 2015 credit -Paul Blakemore

Photo: Paul Blakemore

The winning idea will be prototyped and publicly tested in Bristol/UK, with a view to an international tour. Winners can expect support from advisors to develop and test the selected promising ideas, including help with locations, technical infrastructure, public space implementation and communication – plus the development of touring and future opportunities. Tailored media support will promote the winning project via a PR campaign, including print and TV promotion. And the winners will have access to facilities and connection to a vibrant community of artists and creative technologists in the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed in Bristol.

What are you waiting for?!



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