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Play Amsterdam West

The Beach

Co-develops a youth participation tool based on the Play the City method with school children from Amsterdam West


Amsterdam, the Netherlands

3 Sessions with 45 Particpants

In the beginning of 2019, The Beach, a well-respected culture organisation in Amsterdam West, requested our team to create a Play the City interface, focusing on urban safety, for school children, age group 8-12. Instead of developing the game ourselves, we proposed a development track where children participating in the sessions could become game designers themselves. In a 10-week development period, in the first three sessions, young participants were introduced to the game elements of Play the City interface. By playing these sessions they could internalise various game components and were challenged to develop their own building blocks and props that could express how they experience the neighbourhood places such as shops, streets, schoolyards and parks from a safety perspective. Before going to the design table, participants were asked to hold neighbourhood tours and interviews with various local characters such as show owners, garbage collectors, police and other local agents and publish these through vlog streams. Only after this field work, youngsters returned to the design table and started creating their own game prop that would work along with the game board provided by the Play the City team.

Youth participation that focuses on developing an awareness of how a city is made is a significant one. Play Amsterdam West allowed young participants to philosophise about their cities and their safety by asking questions such as how a city functions and who are the actors maintaining its safety including residents. Eventually not as game consumers but as game designers they could develop an intellectual response to questions around safety formulated by designers and pedagogists from Play the City and The Beach teams.

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