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A Playful Place A catalogue of games for

Flying Urban Play.ces

by Marina Kyriakou / May 2020

Marina Kyriakou Architect / Urban Planner #placemaking #citizenparticipation #publicspace #rooftops #urban mobility #sustainability

Hello there!!! I am an architect / urban planner and last year I decided to discover the field of game design and the use of games and playful experiences for social interaction in public spaces. Since October 2019 I am a trainee of the “Trust in Play” program of the European School of Urban Game Design. Trust in Play supports emerging professionals in the field of urban game design, mentoring them to build a sustainable practice and playfully exploring new relationships of trust in cities. The school offers three branches, one in Amsterdam, one in Athens and a Nomadic branch for trainees in other european cities and is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The game I started designing during my training is called “BirdsEyeU” and it aims to create a playful experience between players collaborating from two urban levels; the street level and a rooftop! Unfortunately the lockdown and social distancing measures imposed by COVID-19 did not allow me to playtest and finalise my game. Therefore, my initial game design is currently “on hold”. Fortunately, an open call for submissions inspired me to continue working on the connection between rooftops, balconies and window sills during quarantine. In April 2020, A-Place announced “A Confined Place”, an interdisciplinary initiative, in the form of a repository that records, envisions and triggers actions and experiences about the sense of place during the period of confinement. A-Place invited us to reflect and share our experience in the confined places –using mixed techniques, including texts and storytelling, drawings, photomontages and photographs, audio-visual works and performances– along these two categories: 1. #ARediscoveredPlace 2. #AReimaginedPlace. A-Place is a platform for creation, debate and experimentation about the sense of belonging and identity which groups from multiple backgrounds and cultures hold within their social and physical environments. This project is also co-financed by the Creative Europe programme and dedicated to strengthening the bonds between people and places. Therefore, this catalogue is a sister project to my initial game for Trust in Play and a project that responds to the call “A Confined Place”.

Marina xxx


Flying Urban Play.ces (in the time of COVID-19) Where? The world When? 2019-2020 What happened? The Covid-19 pandemic imposed a lockdown and social distancing measures What does that mean? People were encouraged to stay home to protect their health and save lives How did that look? Empty streets, closed shops, people working from home… Wow, that doesn’t sound fun! Human creativity and adaptability have no limit! But what happens when humans can’t go out? Many things happen! They also re-discovered flying urban places for play! Flying Places? Yeah, places that are outside, yet at home; private, yet public; exposed, yet secluded...They are places that allow physical distancing AND social closeness… Can I find one in my city? No doubt. They are private or sometimes collective spaces that gave people a unique sense of freedom during this period by allowing them fresh air without feeling anxious about contracting the virus.


. . . take me to these



Balconies . Small strips of private places suspended over public space Rooftops . Open elevated places on top of private properties Windows . Gateways from the private to the public

In the last few months, stepping into a balcony, going up on a roof or sitting on a window sill has served as a brief escape from the monotony of the quarantine. These liminal spaces have proven to be a precious commodity during these times, providing us the opportunity to interact with our neighborhood and passers-by, and connect with our environment while staying home. These spaces constitute in a way the interface between the indoor and the outdoor, where we could resort when we needed some digital detox. Through our balconies, rooftops and windows we were able to feel momentarily a sense of community by watching people passing by. In fact, this used to be a prominent pastime before the arrival of technologies such as the TV and the phone. Balconies, rooftops and windows brought people together during the COVID-19 crisis, strangers who live within proximity came to share common experiences. These places allowed us to access city life whenever we felt sociable and easily withdraw from it whenever we were reserved. Human ingenuity encouraged us to embrace social isolation without feeling confined. Through social media we witnessed this newly emerged culture of playful communication between what we can see but cannot reach. A new genre of games with a view can take place on balconies, rooftops and windowsills. So, how can we play on balconies, rooftops and from our window sills? Inspired by how these often underused spaces that bridge public and private life showed a potential for playfulness between citizens, I created a catalogue of games to give you some ideas of how to bring more fun in the neighborhood!



. . . intention of this

catalogue To give you some ideas about how you can reconnect with your neighbors and neighborhood through the play.ces mentioned above To show you an alternative way to have a break from your computer and your TV; Technology often gives us the illusion that we are connected with the world, but this catalogue enumerates fun ways to experience your immediate human and built environment To encourage you to communicate with people who live in your proximity in a creative manner. To give you ideas on how you can meet these strangers that live in the opposite buildings or to the apartment next to yours To illustrate how easy it is to re-invent and re-imagine the places you already know.




. . . setting up the



_Step 1. Evaluate your options, what places are available for you? We all live in different buildings, different cities, different urban environments... • Do you have a balcony facing the street or a courtyard? • Do you have an accessible rooftop? • What can you see from your windows and who can see you? Explore your home with a player’s mind!

_Step 2. Who are you playing with? Do you know other people living in the same building? Do you know your neighbours? If yes, perhaps, you have their contacts and you can ask them to play a fun game together? If you know more people from the neighborhood, that is great! The catalogue describes games for two or more people! If you do not have their contacts, you can still leave them a message in their letterbox! If you do not know your neighbours you can put a flyer in the entrance of the building asking them to play a game together and give them information on how they can reach out to you!

Communication: You must somehow facilitate communication by providing an email, a phone number, your social media account username so that you can easily decide the date and time. You might also have to communicate in real time according to the game you will choose. • • • •

Be creative in how you can invite people to play! Be courageous; maybe other people will love the idea, especially kids! Be respectful of people’s privacy! Be understanding if people are not interested! That is also part of the game!

In the case you do not know anyone living around and you do not feel motivated to start sending game invitations, there is an alternative category of games you can play using social media/smartphones, to communicate with people from other neighborhoods or other cities in the world!

_Step 3. General Guidelines • No matter the building configurations and spatial conditions make sure to keep at least a 1,5m distance between players. Physical contact is not allowed (the social distancing imposed by Covid-19 inspired this catalogue, remember?) • Do not put yourself or others in danger! These are “flying” places and they can be too high for some activities! Make sure your balcony has a high railing and be responsible for your health and safety! • Do not disturb the neighbors and passers-by! • Try not to make noise and choose well the time of your games!


. . . games for

Flying Urban PLAY.ces


Find the games that are suitable for you and your co-players! The description and the rules of each game are given as a starting point! The players are the ones who make the game fun! Feel free to play with the rules and adjust them to your taste! Change them so that you can laugh together and have the best shared experience from your play.ces!

Categories of games

Body language


Paper and pens




Verbal playing


Getting Loud


Consuming Space p.34-37 Asynchronous


We are (t)here

p.42-45 15

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䜀愀洀攀猀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  䔀瀀椀 挀  䰀漀渀搀漀渀  唀渀搀攀爀 最爀 漀甀渀搀  倀椀 渀最  倀漀渀最  䈀愀琀 琀 氀 攀㨀   栀琀 琀 瀀猀㨀 ⼀ ⼀ 眀眀眀⸀ 礀 漀甀琀 甀戀攀⸀ 挀漀洀⼀ 眀愀琀 挀栀㼀瘀㴀㜀嘀䈀䤀 㤀䌀㘀ⴀ砀㠀䄀


䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  琀 栀攀  愀挀琀   漀昀   猀瀀攀渀搀椀 渀最  琀 椀 洀攀  椀 搀氀 礀  漀戀猀攀爀 瘀椀 渀最  瀀攀漀瀀氀 攀  愀渀搀  琀 栀攀椀 爀   椀 渀琀 攀爀 愀挀琀 椀 漀渀猀  椀 渀  愀  瀀甀戀氀 椀 挀  瀀氀 愀挀攀

䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀    瀀漀瀀甀氀 愀爀   䰀椀 瀀  刀攀愀搀椀 渀最  䌀栀愀氀 氀 攀渀最攀  䜀愀洀攀猀

verbal play / Games to play together while you are drinking your coffee or beers!


䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  琀 栀攀  最愀洀攀  匀礀渀挀爀 攀琀 椀 挀猀  椀 渀  䐀攀攀瀀䘀甀渀  眀椀 琀 栀  䈀攀爀 渀愀爀 搀  䐀攀  䬀漀瘀 攀渀㨀 栀琀 琀 瀀猀㨀 ⼀ ⼀ 眀眀眀⸀ 搀攀攀瀀昀 甀渀⸀ 挀漀洀⼀ 猀礀渀挀爀 攀琀 椀 挀猀⼀

verbal play / Games to play together while you are drinking your coffee or beers!


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䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  琀 栀攀  挀氀 愀猀猀椀 挀  最甀攀猀猀椀 渀最  渀愀洀攀  圀栀漀  䄀洀  䤀

䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  琀 栀攀  䌀漀昀 昀 攀攀  倀漀琀   最愀洀攀  椀 渀  䐀攀攀瀀䘀甀渀  眀椀 琀 栀  䈀攀爀 渀愀爀 搀  䐀攀  䬀漀瘀 攀渀㨀   栀琀 琀 瀀猀㨀 ⼀ ⼀ 眀眀眀⸀ 搀攀攀瀀昀 甀渀⸀ 挀漀洀⼀ 挀漀昀 昀 攀攀ⴀ瀀漀琀 ⼀

䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  䐀椀 愀洀漀渀搀  倀漀攀琀 爀 礀㨀   一漀琀 椀 漀渀⸀ 猀漀  ⴀ  挀漀爀 漀渀愀  最愀洀攀猀㨀 栀琀 琀 瀀猀㨀 ⼀ ⼀ 眀眀眀⸀ 渀漀琀 椀 漀渀⸀ 猀漀⼀ 䌀漀爀 漀渀愀ⴀ䜀愀洀攀猀ⴀ昀 ㄀㠀昀 ㄀攀㘀㔀㐀㘀㐀㤀㐀攀㜀㐀戀㌀㈀㌀挀戀攀㠀㄀㈀㐀㠀愀㘀搀愀

we are (t)here / These games do not help with digital detox but they are an alternative for those who want to connect with people outside their neighborhood and for those who are finding it hard to motivate their neighbours to play. Don’t worry once they see you having fun they will want to join!


䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  琀 栀攀  挀氀 愀猀猀椀 挀  匀挀愀瘀 攀渀最攀爀   䠀甀渀琀   最愀洀攀  眀攀  愀氀 氀   欀渀漀眀  愀渀搀  琀 栀攀  䴀漀漀稀㨀 吀栀攀  娀漀漀洀  匀挀愀瘀 攀渀最攀爀   䠀甀渀琀   䜀愀洀攀  戀礀  琀 栀攀  䴀漀漀稀攀爀 猀㨀   栀琀 琀 瀀猀㨀 ⼀ ⼀ 稀漀漀洀樀 愀洀⸀ 漀爀 最⼀ 㼀瀀㴀㈀㌀㘀

䜀愀洀攀  椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 攀搀  戀礀  䄀甀搀椀 漀  匀眀愀瀀㨀   一漀琀 椀 漀渀⸀ 猀漀  ⴀ  挀漀爀 漀渀愀  最愀洀攀猀㨀 栀琀 琀 瀀猀㨀 ⼀ ⼀ 眀眀眀⸀ 渀漀琀 椀 漀渀⸀ 猀漀⼀ 䌀漀爀 漀渀愀ⴀ䜀愀洀攀猀ⴀ昀 ㄀㠀昀 ㄀攀㘀㔀㐀㘀㐀㤀㐀攀㜀㐀戀㌀㈀㌀挀戀攀㠀㄀㈀㐀㠀愀㘀搀愀


一伀吀䔀㨀   吀栀攀  猀漀甀爀 挀攀  漀昀   椀 渀猀瀀椀 爀 愀琀 椀 漀渀  昀 漀爀   攀愀挀栀  最愀洀攀  椀 猀  眀爀 椀 琀 琀 攀渀  瘀 攀爀 琀 椀 挀愀氀 氀 礀  漀渀  琀 栀攀  爀 椀 最栀琀   猀椀 搀攀  漀昀   攀愀挀栀  最愀洀攀  瀀爀 攀猀攀渀琀 愀琀 椀 漀渀  瀀愀最攀

This catalogue will be continuously updated. Please send an email to to share your games and ideas

ce a l P l es for u f y a l P A atalogue of gamPlay.ces ban r U g Flyin Ac

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