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Open AccessArticle

Participation, for Whom? The Potential of Gamified Participatory Artefacts in Uncovering Power Relations within Urban Renewal Projects

Architecture Department—Spatial Capacity Building Group, Hasselt University, B‐3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(5), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9050319
Received: 1 April 2020 / Revised: 29 April 2020 / Accepted: 11 May 2020 / Published: 12 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and Geospatial Information)
When defining participation in urban renewal projects in a political sense, this concept implies the challenging of power relations in each of its dimensions while addressing the need for knowledge, action and consciousness. Knowledge is defined as a resource which affects observable decision making. Action looks at who is involved in the production of such knowledge in order to challenge and shape the political agenda. Consciousness is how the production of knowledge changes the awareness or worldview of those involved, thus shaping the psychological and conceptual boundaries of what is possible. This paper addresses these politics of participation via the use of gamification, and more particularly gamified participatory artefacts. We discuss how a ‘good’ participatory planning process implies rebalancing existing power relations via the redistribution of knowledge, consciousness and actions, and aims to operationalize this ambition through a game. We particularly focus on the urban renewal process of one particular case, namely the Vennestraat—one of the main commercial streets of the city of Genk (BE) and present a three year participatory mapping process that made use of three gamified participatory artefacts (i.e., socio-economic network mapping, gathering mental images and scenario games). After uncovering the complex field of power relations in the entrepreneurial street, we analyze the different types of relations/groups that emerge from this participatory mapping process. The paper concludes with an analytical framework that employs gamified participatory artefacts in order to map and understand power relations and the mechanisms that frame them.
Keywords: gamified participatory artefacts; scenario games; mental images; knowledge; action; consciousness gamified participatory artefacts; scenario games; mental images; knowledge; action; consciousness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Constantinescu, T.I.; Devisch, O.; Huybrechts, L. Participation, for Whom? The Potential of Gamified Participatory Artefacts in Uncovering Power Relations within Urban Renewal Projects. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9, 319.

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