URBACT Network Playful Paradigm: Towards a Playful and Sustainable Europe

The URBACT Network Playful Paradigm is an initiative that promotes urban development and social cohesion, by the use of games. It is a strategic partnership that consists of 8 European municipalities. The overall aim, is to turn European cities into becoming healthier, more inclusive, and sustainable.

The Framework of URBACT Network 

URBACT is a European co-funded programme, of great significance. It promotes territorial cooperation, among the EU cities and their citizens. The goal of URBACT Network involves the development and application of urban strategies.

The programme’s priorities involve sharing of knowledge and know-how resources, among the EU countries. The goal is to promote solutions that correspond to challenges. Problems that EU cities come across, related to healthy living; innovation, in terms of urban exploitation; economic, social, and environmental sustainability. URBACT promotes collaboration schemes, as a medium for tackling challenges.

The Transfer Networks is particularly successful, at local, national and international level, in terms of involving significant actors. This network promotes implementation actions pertinent to good practices, at European level, that have been approved by URBACT.

For more information, regarding the URBACT funding programme, you can visit the official webpage. 

URBACT Network Playful Paradigm: The Implementation

In particular, the design of “The Playful Paradigm” has been developed based on the good practice of Udine city. In 2017, the good practice of Udine has been applied in 7 European cities. It was a successful practice with the elements of sustainability and urban development, with the use of gaming and playful activities.

However, in 2021, the Playful Paradigm Network in collaboration with the Municipality of Udine, as the coordinator, created a strategic partnership between the following cities: Cork (Ireland); Esplugues de Llobregat (Spain); Katowice (Poland); Klaipeda (Lithuania); Larissa (Greece); Novigrad (Croatia); and, Viana do Castelo (Portugal). The partnership has reached the point of completion and is moving on to dissemination activities.

Playful Paradigm in the Municipality of Larissa

The town of Larissa has integrated gamification techniques, among its citizens, despite any age difference or social background. As an active town, with a wide spectrum of cultural events and infrastructure, the introduction to new activities has amplified Larissa’s cultural agenda.

A map guide, and an activities calendar, of Larissa, are results with the common element of playfulness, with the plan to involve the town’s residents, and promote the playful dimension nationally. In addition, Toy Library was created, in collaboration with local stakeholders. Finally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipality took the initiative to create an online platform, titled “Larissa Together”, for its citizens.

What to Expect Next

Even though the Playful Paradigm is reaching its end, the dissemination process will continue until the end of September 2021, by organizing events locally and nationally. The network’s final online meeting, in April, was focusing on the creation of a document, which was a Manifesto with suggestions, regarding the implementation of playful activities in cities. These suggestions encourage games in urban settings, as effective strategies that promote social inclusion and sustainability in Europe.

Through a dialogue, among the cities of Playful Paradigm and their representatives, the creation of European Capital of Play has arisen. Furthermore, this discussion will reach pertinent European institutions, in order to integrate playfulness in sustainable development strategies. Finally, the New European Bauhaus will encompass this model to fulfill its goal.

URBACT Network Playful Paradigm is a promising initiative; and, it is likely to have a positive and sustainable impact on the implemented municipals, and beyond.  

Institute of Entrepreneurship Development is very happy and supportive of activities that leverage our city’s potentials.

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