CfP: Urban Games in the Smart, Creative & Sustainable City

Dale Leorke (Postdoc at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies at Tampere University, Finland) and Marcus Owens (Lecturer at the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley) are seeking contributions for a proposed edited book collection on games, play and urban policy.

The collection, tentatively titled ‘Urban Games in the Smart, Creative and Sustainable City’, seeks papers that examine intersections between game studies, play studies, urban geography and other related disciplines. They seek contributions from scholars, artists, urbanists and commentators that explore how urban games, play and playfulness can connect with contemporary urban policy discourses that often ignore or overlook these elements of city life.

These discourses include the economic exigencies of the “creative city”; the environmental strategies of “the sustainable city” (also encompassing urban resilience initiatives); and the technological optimization envisioned by the “smart city.” Contributions may include comparative case studies, such as those that examine how specific urban games complicate, contradict, or complement visions of the near-future city as seamless, responsive, and adaptable to the challenges of urban life and infrastructural management. Other contributions might also include genealogies of urban games that reveal intersections between the gamification of the city and smart, creative and sustainability discourses. And lastly, contributions might include provocative, yet cogent and critical, examinations of play and playfulness in the city more broadly – how play as a concept, practice and discourse itself might alternatively disrupt or reinforce existing uses of urban space. Through these contributions, they seek to address the following overarching questions:
  • What is the historical relationship between games and urban discourses surrounding sustainability, creativity and “smartness?”
  • How are games both assimilated into urban governance – through investment in game development and startups, civic games, and gamification tools – and mobilised as a counter to it?
  • How might urban games reflect broader transformations of labour within the digital era, and how can game studies contribute to a better understanding of contemporary processes of urbanization?
They have proposed this collection to Routledge, who have expressed interest and requested a full proposal. The key dates for the project are as follows:
  • 22 April 2019 – 300 word expressions of interest due (written as abstracts with title, author(s) names and the section listed below it addresses)
  • 29 Apr 2019 – authors notified if their EoI was successful or not
  • 6 May 2019 – proposal sent to Routledge
  • Aug 2019 – full chapters due (approx. 6,000 words)
  • Q1/Q2 2020 – publication of final volume
The book will be divided into three sections, examining the “smart”, “creative” and “sustainable” discourses mentioned above, respectively. They ask that contributors specify which of these three sections their paper most strongly addresses. For more information and to submit your EoI, please contact Dale Leorke:

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