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Speaking at dConstruct 2011

I am really pleased to be speaking at dConstruct this year. I’ve attended the conference myself several times and always enjoy the well-curated program and the good things offered by the event’s home, lovely Brighton. You’ll find the abstract I submitted below. Have a look at the conference site for the rest of the program – which is stellar, I’m honored to be part of it – and make sure to grab a ticket once they go on sale on July 5th.

When you think of a city, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Most likely it is the stuff that it is made up of: its streets and buildings, its parks and squares. But what sets a city apart, aside from its architecture, is how all that stuff is put to use. A city’s nightlife, a city’s cuisine, a city’s culture. In other words, what people make of the space they live in when they are at play.

Play isn’t limited to the “soft side” of urbanism. In fact, it turns out a building isn’t some prefixed structure capable of doing one thing only. Adaptation and reuse continuously transform what a city’s architecture is for, often from the bottom up. In this way, a city’s people shape their homes as well, quite literally.

What is at work in this process of city transformation, is nothing less than play. In cities, just as in games, people and the space they inhabit shape each other. Thus, in our Western cities, where reuse is overtaking construction of new space, we are all becoming architects.

In this session Kars looks at how game culture and play shape the urban fabric, how we might design systems that improve people’s capacity to do so, and how you yourself, through play, can transform the city you call home.

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