Mersin CityLab
a collaborative planning space
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City Game

Mersin Citylab partners aim to introduce an interactive urban planning method by using Play the City’s City Gaming Method. Collaborative game session will support developing local urban development visions and focus on key projects supporting these visions, while creating and managing a public debate and decision-making process that involves a full range of parties - from children to academics, and from local politicians to cultural organizations and the professional planning office of the local governments.

City Gaming as a Backbone for the Toroslar Citylab

Mersin CityLab aims to practice a collaborative city planning method within an existing planning regime where top-down practices prevail. It will become the space for thinking and strategizing city futures by formal and informal actors of city development. By joining Play the City’s City Gaming sessions, involved parties will be able to collectively exchange knowledge and mature a Circular Manifesto [a long term vision] throughout 2019. With every game iteration, a new set of research, experts and actor set will meet to synthesize knowledge and ideas for circular development of Toroslar. These interactive, strategic meetings will be accompanied with hands-on workshops [short term direct actions]. Content generated collectively is reported in this website systematically and will feed the evolving content of the Circular Manifesto.

Circular thinking is a systemic approach which asks for integrated debates on urban development including flows of energy, water, materials and people. The city game is built based on this holistic idea. New game iterations will bring in specialized input on mobility, water, urban agriculture and local economy. Focused sessions will ensure a new sets of residents, experts, activist groups and companies present around the table each time. Mersin University and participating municipalities will provide the local knowledge on micro-economical processes, relevant sites to urban agriculture and urban ecology, mobility routes and spaces for different modalities, waterways and waste flows, and population and demographical data. We expect each game iteration to bring local experts from the city [local and metropolitan municipalities] and university as well as Dutch circularity experts with active NGO’s and citizen groups on the particular topic.

Mersin CityLab’s approach for an inclusive and sustainable city

Both inclusivity and sustainability are widely used subjects open to various interpretations. Often enough, there is confusion rather than clarity when cities, initiatives or projects claim these principles. Thus being aware of the context we are working in, we take a moderate stance. Instead of claiming terms as inclusivity or participation, we choose facilitating an open dialogue and shared knowledge amongst stakeholders and citizens who feel responsible for the future of their city. Instead of promising a more sustainable Toroslar, we choose a very concrete approach to study cycles as water, food and to demonstrate tangible outcomes to transform the community in the long run. Perceiving the city as a continuous flow of humans, water, materials and food might support an alternative stance to urban transformation sensitive to natural values. Furthermore, we believe an integrated understanding is required here: there is no circular city development without collaboration. This is exactly why the Citylab chooses to work with low threshold multiplayer interface of city gaming to moderate conversations on urban transformation.