A game co-design method to elicit knowledge for the contextualization of spatial models

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A frequent criticism of knowledge-based planning tools is the apparent mismatch between information frameworks used in their spatial models and the information needs of planning actors. Increasingly, these actors are contributing their context-specific knowledge during the development of such tools. Transferring this knowledge from actors to the model remains a challenge. This study establishes a set of design requirements for knowledge elicitation in small group settings and introduces game co-design as a method allowing planning actors and planning support experts to meet halfway between the technology and user domains in the so-called third space. We present an initial case where in three nominal group sessions, actors encountered and critiqued parameterized assumptions of their planning issues in a tangible game environment. Findings indicate that the method can elicit different types of knowledge (divergence) about a spatial system in operationalized terms (formalization). We discuss the potential of tangible game co-design as a modeling as learning exercise and its complementarity to dedicated digital technologies for more holistic planning support.