MAB20 Livecast #5 | Playful Urban Futuring

MAB20 Livecast #5 | Playful Urban Futuring

Date: 28 April, 2021
Time: 18:30 – 19:30 CET
Hosted and streamed by Pakhuis de Zwijger 

How can we envision and experiment with playful future alternatives for urban life?

As our planet is rapidly urbanizing, techno-utopian visions of future urban life are gaining considerable traction. However, numerous people argue that envisioning and shaping our urban future is a challenge of the imagination rather than a technological challenge. “What if?” is the key imaginative question. What if things were different? Instead of tech-driven scenarios, we need to turn to more imaginative playful urban futuring. Imaginative and playful media, design, and artistic interventions, we argue, may foster criticality (questioning the status quo), speculation (opening up possible alternatives), and performativity (producing potential realities). The notion of a playful or playable city has been proposed as a research and design agenda aiming to deploy play and games to harness citizen creativity in city-making. It promotes a people-centric view of (smart) cities in which citizens themselves learn, negotiate and create innovations through play and games.

In this edition of the MAB20 Livecast Series, we ask: How can we envision and experiment with playful future alternatives for urban life? We connect the challenge of creating meaningful and impactful futuring vision of urban life, often through games and playful simulations, with the overarching theme #FuturesImplied of the present edition of the Media Architecture Biennale.

The moderators Michiel de Lange and Nanna Verhoeff are founders of the Utrecht University based research platform [urban interfaces] that focuses on mobile and situated media, arts, performances and socio-spatial practices of urban culture. In this livecast, they will bring together speakers from Utrecht University and the Amsterdam School of Applied Science, bringing together different expertise, ranging from science fiction, game design, to sustainability and methodologies of futuring.



  • Dan Hassler-Forest – Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Culture at Utrecht University. Research focus: Cultural Studies, Critical Theory and Science Fiction;
  • Astrid Mangnus – PhD candidate at Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the Faculty of Geoscience;
  • Iris van der Tuin – Professor of Theory of Cultural Inquiry and Director of the School of Liberal Arts in the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Utrecht University. Research Interest: Humanities scholarship that integrates Science and Technology studies, with art and culture and interdisciplinary teaching and learning;
  • Gabriele Ferri – Researcher at Civic Interaction Design & head of program at M.Sc. Digital Design at the Amsterdam School of Applied Science;
  • Rok Kranjc – Researcher, designer, translator and radio journalist / FuturesCraft, P2P Foundation, Institute for Ecology Ljubljana.



  • Nanna Verhoeff, Full Professor of Screen Cultures and Society at Utrecht University
  • Michiel de Lange, Assistant Professor New Media at Utrecht University 


Watch the Livecast:



This live cast was organized with generous support from the Games & Play Focus Area at Utrecht University.

Image Credits: Project: Tara Karpinski; Photo: Marc Faasse