© 2017

Playable Cities

The City as a Digital Playground

  • Anton Nijholt

Part of the Gaming Media and Social Effects book series (GMSE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Anton Nijholt
    Pages 1-20
  3. Games for Playful Urban Design

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Ben Schouten, Gabriele Ferri, Michiel de Lange, Karel Millenaar
      Pages 23-45
    3. Annika Wolff, Alan-Miguel Valdez, Matthew Barker, Stephen Potter, Daniel Gooch, Emilie Giles et al.
      Pages 47-66
  4. Design of Urban and Pervasive Games

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 109-109
    2. Paul Coulton, Jonny Huck, Adrian Gradinar, Lara Salinas
      Pages 137-162
    3. Patrick Tobias Fischer, Eva Hornecker
      Pages 163-185
  5. Design for Playful Public Spaces

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 187-187
    2. Leonardo Parra-Agudelo, Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Marcus Foth
      Pages 189-210
    3. Vinicius Ferreira, Junia Anacleto, Andre Bueno
      Pages 211-233
    4. Anton Nijholt
      Pages 235-253

About this book


This book addresses the topic of playable cities, which use the ‘smartness’ of digital cities to offer their citizens playful events and activities. The contributions presented here examine various aspects of playable cities, including developments in pervasive and urban games, the use of urban data to design games and playful applications, architecture design and playability, and mischief and humor in playable cities.

The smartness of digital cities can be found in the sensors and actuators that are embedded in their environment. This smartness allows them to monitor, anticipate and support our activities and increases the efficiency of the cities and our activities. These urban smart technologies can offer citizens playful interactions with streets, buildings, street furniture, traffic, public art and entertainment, large public displays and public events.


Smart Cities Urban Games Citizen Playful Engagement Playful Interactions Tangible Interfaces Pervasive Games Playful Civic Hacking Playful Architecture Gameful Application Gamified Application

Editors and affiliations

  • Anton Nijholt
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EEMCS, Human Media InteractionUniversiteit Twente, Faculty of EEMCS, Human Media InteractionEnschedeThe Netherlands

About the editors

Anton Nijholt studied mathematics and computer science at the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands and received a Ph.D. degree in theoretical computer science from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 1980. He is a Professor of Computer Science in the Human Media Interaction group, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. He held positions at various universities in and outside The Netherlands.

His main research interests are entertainment computing, multimodal interaction, affective computing, and brain–computer interfacing. He has hundreds of scientific publications, including (edited) books on the history of computing, language processing, and brain–computer interfacing. Recently he edited three books: “Playful User Interfaces”, “More Playful User Interfaces” and “Entertaining the Whole World”, all with Springer. He has been a guest-editor for Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces, International Journal of Arts and Technology, Entertainment Computing, International Journal of Creative Interfaces and Computer Graphics (IJCICG) and the Brain-Computer Interfaces journal.

Presently, he is editing a section on Brain-computer Interaction and Games in a Springer Handbook on Digital Games and Entertainment. Professor Nijholt is also Specialty Chief Editor of Frontiers in Human-Media Interaction and (associate) editor of several other journals. He has also served as Program Chair and General Chair for the main international conferences on affective computing, multimodal interaction, virtual agents, and entertainment computing.

Bibliographic information

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“In Playable Cities, edited by Anton Nijholt, several researchers pose ideas for ‘smart cities’ - developing current metropolitan hubs to allow citizens to ‘playfully connect with [their] environments, and with one another, by way of environments.’ … Playable Cities contains a lot of interesting, highly descriptive information on the many facets of the research involving smart cities. … the amount of Playable Cities contains will be helpful in leading to further research on smart cities … .” (Brian Couch, Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 10, 2017)