Call workshop “Playable Cities: The City as Digital Playground”, Utrecht June 28–30 2016

I am one of the co-organizers of this workshop at Intetain 2016.
Our friends from Bristol’s Playable City project – who coined the term – will come an give a talk!


This workshop will be held as part of the INTETAIN 2016 conference, Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 28-30, 2016:

What is a playable city? “A Playable City is a city where people, hospitality and openness are key, enabling its residents and visitors to reconfigure and rewrite its services, places and stories.” This notion of ‘making cities playable’ was introduced some years ago in Bristol (UK). Originally it was meant to distinguish smart cities from playable cities, where smartness is identified with intelligent and efficient city management. This is contrasted with playfulness that can become part of an urban environment through the use of new and advanced information and communication technology. A playable city requires the smart technology that is integrated in a smart city environment. Sensors, actuators, displays, smart tangible objects, and wearables, can be used to improve the efficiency of city management (traffic, public transport, security, public events, et cetera), but they can also introduce playful elements. Playability requires smart technology. A city without smart technology embedded in its urban environment cannot offer its citizens playful interactions with streets, buildings, street furniture, traffic, public art and entertainment, large public displays and public events.

This workshop is meant to explore the use of sensors and actuators for entertaining interactions and activities in urban environments. We want to focus on adding playfulness to daily life activities in urban environments. We invite short contributions (4 pages maximum, reference list not included) that address:

• Embedding playfulness in outdoor daily life activities
• Digital art and entertainment in urban environments
• Playful interactions with large digital displays
• Playfulness and smart city infrastructure
• Community building, makers’ culture, and playfulness
• Robust sensor and actuator technology for urban environments

Anton Nijholt, Imagineering Institute, Iskandar, Malaysia; Michiel de Lange, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, the Netherlands; Paul Coulton, ImaginationLancaster, Lancaster University, UK. Organizational assistance: Sjors Martens (Utrecht University)

Paper submission deadline: 20 March 2016
Notification deadline: 25 March 2016
Camera-ready deadline: 6 April 2016

All accepted papers will be published in the official INTETAIN proceedings (LNICST, Springer). The papers will undergo a regular reviewing process by members of the workshop’s program/reviewing committee.

Papers should be formatted according to Springer LNICTS Author’s Kit. See the website for instructions.
Papers should be sent to Anton Nijholt,

Michiel de Lange

Michiel de Lange (1976) is an Assistant Professor in New Media Studies at Utrecht University, researching mobile media and urban culture and identity. He is the co-founder of The Mobile City, an independent research group founded in 2007 that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life and the implications for urban design and policy. Michiel is trained as a cultural anthropologist, and holds a PhD in philosophy (2010) with a dissertation about mobile media technologies and urban identities. He collaborated in a locative media art & science project ( He worked for  Kennisland, a Dutch think-tank that aims to strengthen the knowledge-based society. Here he worked on several projects at the intersection of ICTs and the city, e.g. co-organizing the Creative Capital conference. He also volunteered and worked for Cybersoek, a computer neighborhood center in Amsterdam. He is advisor e-culture at Mediafonds.
Michiel is on Twitter and LinkedIn.