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Contesting the public realm: struggles over public space in Los Angeles

Design Fiction: A Short Essay on Design, Science, Fact, and Fiction Reality is Broken: Why Games Make s Better and How they can Change the World. Urban Computing and its Discontents The Role of Ubiquitous Computing in Maintaining Work-Life Balance: Perspectives from Women in the I.T. Workforce

Urban Public Space

Super Gaming: Ubiquiotous Play & Performance for Massively Scaled Community. Robin Hunicke talk @ 2008 Lift Conference. Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla Urbanism & the Remaking of Contemporary Cities

Situated Advocacy

Hacking & Life

Mixed Realities

How Algorithms Shape Our World: Kevin Slavin Ted Talk Jesse Schell: When Games Invade Real Life

Ubicomp & Data

Finding the Truth in Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking.

Play in the city: Parkour & Archetecture The work of Aram Bartholl

A Hacker Manifesto F.A.T. Lab Changing Perspectives on the work-leisure relationship. The new economy and the work-life balance.

From Obstacle to Opportunity: Parkour, Leisure, and the Reinterpretation of Constraints Killscreen Magazine: The Public Play Issue. Rebar

Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas From the Computer Age.

The Built Environment
Design For Play

Form Fun Function


Work & Leisure: A History of Ideas

WorkLeisure Theories

Theories & Thought

Everything is The Game

Sims, Battlebots, Cellular Automata, God, and Go: A Conversation with Will Wright Mathias Crawford Instrumental methods and curricula for “Values Consious Design” First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game.

Entyrely fun playgrounds New Games Design of Children’s Play Environments

Friends on Play Podcast

Playgrounds Design

In the Real World

Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture.

Rules of Play

2011 Indiecade Conference

Game Design
Biases in Computer Systems

Coney Island: The People’s Playground Sustainable Play: Towards a new Games Movement in the Digital Age. Weird & Wonderful: The Dime Museuem in America Conversation with Chris Bell Real Time Research: Improvisational Game Scholarship. Conversation with Kellee Santiago & Robin Hunicke

Designing For Play

World Building in a Crazy World

Critical Media Studies

Scott Burnham
Hi, I’m Scott. I am a social entrepreneur, creative strategist, creative director and writer dedicated to reprogramming our relationships with design and the city, working with a number of cities, institutions and publications worldwide. I created and directed Urban Play for Droog Design and the city of Amsterdam to launch a new generation of objects and areas for the city. Working with Stefan Sagmeister, Marti Guixe, NL Architects and others a series of objects and areas were created as public catalysts for further design interventions. Recently I created the Bairro Criativo project for Porto, Portugal to open idea generation, grass-roots innovation and creative processes to wider audiences in the city and create direct design responses to they city’s needs. When I’m not working on creative strategies for cities, I go after big ideas and issues facing design and cities. In this realm I am currently directing the Trust Design project for Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design in Amsterdam. Trust Design explores the relationship between trust and design in all areas of design, from our products to our shared urban spaces. As part of Trust Design, I am the Editor for a special 4-issue publication series in collaboration with Volume Magazine, and guest lecturer at Design Academy Eindhoven. In addition to contributing to a number of publications, I am the author of “Finding the Truth in Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking”, an exploration of how hacking and open approaches are transforming design and cities everywhere. My speaking credits include addressing the International Conference on European Policy, the World Urban Development Congress, and guest lecturing at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design, London, University of Quebec, Montreal, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and many others. In years past I was Creative Director for the UK’s Urbis Centre for Urban Culture from 20032006, where I directed numerous large-scale urban projects including Will Alsop’s SuperCity to rethink the future of post-industrial cities, ‘Urban Oasis’ with Berlin’s Office for Subversive Architecture, ‘At Home’ with Peter Saville, and “The China Show”, an overview of contemporary Chinese design and architecture.

Jonathan Harris
Jonathan Harris (b. Aug 27, 1979) makes projects that reimagine how humans relate to technology and to each other. Combining elements of computer science, anthropology, visual art and storytelling, his projects range from building the world’s largest time capsule (with Yahoo!) to documenting an Alaskan Eskimo whale hunt on the Arctic Ocean (with a warm hat). He is the co-creator of We Feel Fine, which continuously measures the emotional temperature of the human world through large-scale blog analysis, and has made other projects about online dating, modern mythology, anonymity, news, and language. After studying computer science at Princeton University, he won a 2005 Fabrica fellowship and three Webby Awards. His work has also been recognized by AIGA, Ars Electronica, the state of Vermont (for which he co-designed the state quarter), Print Magazine (which named him a 2008 New Visual Artist) and The World Economic Forum (which named him a 2009 Young Global Leader). His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has also been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), The Victoria and Albert Museum (London), and The National Museum of Contemporary Art (Athens), and has appeared on CNN, NPR, BBC, and Bhutanese television. He has given talks at Google, Princeton and Stanford Universities, the TED Conference, and at two hippy forest gatherings. Born in Vermont, he now floats between Brooklyn, NY, the open road, and cyberspace.

Julian Bleecker
Julian Bleecker is a designer, technologist and researcher at the Design Strategic Projects studio at Nokia Design in Los Angeles and co-founder with Nicolas Nova of the Near Future Laboratory, their design-to-think studio. He lectures and leads workshops on the intersections of art, design, technology and the near-future possibilities for new social-technical interaction rituals. He has taught interactive media at Parson’s School of Design and the University of Southern California. Julian has given talks and exhibited many of his emerging technology projects, designs and concepts in venues such as SIGGRAPH, LIFT, Xerox PARC, O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and Where 2.0 Conference on Location-Based Technology, Ubicomp, Ars Electronica, ACM SIGCHI, ACM Advances in Computer Entertainment, Banff New Media Institute, American Museum of the Moving Image, Art Interactive, Boston Cyberarts Festival, SHiFT, Reboot, Eyebeam Atelier, and SK Telecom’s Art Center Nabi. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, a Master’s Degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, in Computer-Human Interaction, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz where his dissertation is on technology, culture and entertainment. He was formerly a Professor of Interactive Media at the University of Southern California. He is on the board of advisors the Lift Conference and can often be found jurying and participating in international art, technology and design conferences. Current interest are best represented by recent topics on this blog, including Design, Science Fiction, Film, Urban Space, Future Things and strategies for thinking about and creating conversations that lead to more habitable near future worlds.

Aram Bartholl
Aram Bartholl has been working in Berlin since 1995. He studied architecture at the University of the Arts UdK Berlin and graduated there in 2001. Bartholl worked as a freelancer for DMC, MVRDV, IEB Berlin and Fraunhofer Institut FOCUS among others. His installations and performances have been shown at numerous festivals, museum and gallery shows worldwide. Often he is invited to give workshops and to present his work at conferences and universities/art schools. Aram Bartholl is a member of the NYC based ‘Free, Art & Technology Lab’ a.k.a. ‘F.A.T. Lab.’ Net politics Institutions like the CCC (Chaos Computer Club) and the discussion on: copyright, DIY movement and the web development in general do play an important role in his work. Since serveral years Aram Bartholl collects impressions on streetart, games, privacy, copyright and neoanalogue culture in his blog. In his art work Aram Bartholl thematizes the relationships between net data space and public every day life. “In which form does the network data world manifest itself in our everyday life? What returns from cyberspace into physical space? How do digital innovations influence our everyday actions?” Through his installations, workshops and performances Bartholl developed a unique way to discuss the impact of the digital era on society. In his series of physical objects recreated from digital space and a series of light installations he questions the technology driven society and the tension of public on- and offline space. Workshops interventions and performances in public play a central role in his interest to create offline social platforms and situations to discuss day to day life in the era of Google, Facebook, Twitter and co.

Rebar is an interdisciplinary studio operating at the intersection of art, design and ecology. Our mission is to create objects, spaces and ideas that inspire people to re-imagine the environment and our place in it. Our studio produces artwork and design solutions that shape the landscape and public realm, rooted in the belief that human interaction, community and a sense of wonder form the basis of the good life. We engage with large projects and small, from city and regional scale plans to design objects that fit in the hand. Founded in 2004 and based in San Francisco, Rebar has created work at venues and institutions around the globe, including the Venice Architecture Biennale, ISEA Dublin, ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam, SmartCity Paris, the Benaki Museum Athens, the Harvard GSD, U.C. Berkeley and the California College of the Arts.

F.A.T. Lab
The Free Art and Technology Lab is an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. The entire FAT network of artists, engineers, scientists, lawyers, musicians and Bornas are committed to supporting open values and the public domain through the use of emerging open licenses, support for open entrepreneurship and the admonishment of secrecy, copyright monopolies and patents.

Paul Graham
Paul Graham is an essayist, programmer, and investor. In 1995 he developed with Robert Morris the first web-based application, Viaweb, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998. In 2002 he described a simple statistical spam filter that inspired a new generation of filters. In 2005 he was one of the founders of Y Combinator. He and Robert Morris are currently working on a new Lisp dialect called Arc Paul is the author of On Lisp (Prentice Hall, 1993), ANSI Common Lisp (Prentice Hall, 1995), and Hackers & Painters (O’Reilly, 2004). He has an AB from Cornell and a PhD in Computer Science from Harvard, and studied painting at RISD and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence.

Mathias Crawford
With an A.B. in History of Science from Harvard College, Mathias is interested in the convergence of social and technological forces: how they shape our individual behaviors and the structures of our communities, and in how technologies develop in response to, and exert influence on, social, political, and individual concerns. Mathias has been integrally involved in development of the Foresight Engine, IFTF’s platform for massively collaborative thought experiments that address provocative scenarios about the future. As a member of the Technology Horizons program, Mathias has written extensively about the future of education, and has participated in research into the technological forces that are contributing to changing structures of community support; the nature of collaboration, especially as it is practiced in open source communities and by youth; and changing patterns of retail and banking.

Jane McGonigal
Jane McGonigal, PhD is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games — or, games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems. She believes game designers are on a humanitarian mission — and her #1 goal in life is to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Penguin Press, 2011) — and currently serves as the Creative Director for Social Chocolate, where she is making games powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection. She has created and deployed award-winning games and secret missions in more than 30 countries on six continents, for partners such as the American Heart Association, the International Olympics Committee, the World Bank Institute, and the New York Public Library. She specializes in games that challenge players to tackle realworld problems, such as poverty, hunger and climate change, through planetary-scale collaboration. Her best-known work includes EVOKE, Superstruct, World Without Oil, Cruel 2 B Kind, and The Lost Ring. These games have been featured in The New York Times, Wired, and The Economist, and on MTV, CNN, and NPR. Jane is also a future forecaster. She currently serves as the Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research group in Palo Alto, California. Her research focuses on how games are transforming the way we lead our real lives, and how they can be used to increase our resilience and well-being. Her work has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, O(prah) Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times Science section, and more. She is the founder of Gameful, “a secret headquarters for worldchanging game developers.”

Kevin Slavin
Kevin Slavin is the Chairman and co-Founder of Area/Code. Founded in 2005, Area/Code creates cross-media games and entertainment for clients including Nokia, CBS, Disney Imagineering, MTV, Discovery Networks, A&E Networks, Nike, Puma, EA, the UK’s Department for Transport, and Busch Entertainment. Area/Code builds on the landscape of pervasive technologies and overlapping media to create new kinds of entertainment. They have built mobile games with invisible characters that move through real-world spaces, online games synchronized to live television broadcasts, and videogames in which virtual sharks are controlled by real-world sharks with GPS receivers stapled to their fins. Their Facebook game “Parking Wars” served over 1 billion pages in 2008. Before founding Area/Code, Slavin spent over 10 years in ad agencies including DDB, TBWA\ Chiat\Day and SS+K, focused primarily on technology, networks, and community. His work has been recognized through many industry awards and press. Area/Code’s work has received awards from the Clios, the One Club, Creativity, and many others, and the co-founders were recently named to the Creativity 50 and the Gamasutra 20. Slavin has spoken at the BBC, Ad Age, 5D, MoMA, the Van Alen Institute, the Guardian, DLD, the Cooper Union, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and NBC, and together with Adam Greenfield he teaches Urban Computing at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. His work has been exhibited internationally, including the Design Museum of London and the Frankfurt Museum fuer Moderne Kunst.

Mary Flanagan
Mary Flanagan is an innovator focused on how people create and use technology. Her groundbreaking explorations across the arts, humanities, and sciences represent a novel use of methods and tools that bind research with introspective cultural production. As an artist, the collection of over 20 major works range from game-inspired systems to computer viruses, embodied interfaces to interactive texts; these works are exhibited internationally. As a scholar interested in how human values are in play across technologies and systems, Flanagan has written more than 20 critical essays and chapters on games, empathy, gender and digital representation, art and technology, and responsible design. Her three books in English include Critical Play (2009) with MIT Press. Flanagan founded the Tiltfactor game research laboratory in 2003, where researchers study and make social games, urban games, and software in a rigorous theory/practice environment. She is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College.

Jesse Schell
Prior to starting Schell Games in 2004, Jesse was the Creative Director of the Disney Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio, where he worked and played for seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and DisneyQuest, as well as on Toontown Online, the first massively multiplayer game for kids. Before that, he worked as writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer’s Mime Circus and the Juggler’s Guild. Jesse is also on the faculty of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University where he teaches classes in Game Design and serves as advisor on several innovative projects. Formerly the Chairman of the International Game Developers Association, he is also the author of the award winning book The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation. His primary responsibility at Schell Games is to make sure everyone is having fun and creating beautiful things.

Will Wright
A technical virtuoso with boundless imagination, Will Wright has created a style of computer gaming unlike any that came before, emphasizing learning more than losing, invention more than sport. With his hit game SimCity, he spurred players to make predictions, take risks, and sometimes fail miserably, as they built their own virtual urban worlds. With his follow-up hit, The Sims, he encouraged the same creativity toward building a household, all the while preserving the addictive fun of ordinary video games. His next game, Spore, which he previewed at TED2007, evolves an entire universe from a single-celled creature. Wright’s genius is for presenting vital abstract principles -- like evolution, differences of scale, and environmental dynamics -- through a highly personalized, humorous kind of play. Users invest themselves passionately in characters they create (with Wright’s mind-boggling CG tools), and then watch them encounter fundamentals of life and nature. If it all sounds suspiciously educational, well, it just might be. Wright has created not just an irresistible form of entertainment, but an ingenious, original pedagogy. In 2009, he left publisher Electronic Arts to form his own think tank for the future of games, toys and entertainment, the Stupid Fun Club.

Kellee Santiago
Kellee Co-Founded thatgamecompany in 2006 and is currently President. She received her BFA in Theatre from New York University, and her MFA in Interactive Media from the University of Southern California. It was at USC that she met co-founder Jenova Chen, and developed a vision for how video games could be different and made differently. Kellee speaks around the world at video game, business, and entertainment conferences on the possibilities of video games, entrepreneurship, and better methods for video game development. In 2010 she became a TEDFellow, and was recognized as one of The Ten Most Influential Women in Games of the Decade. She is also a partner in IndieFund, which aims to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get financially independent and stay financially independent.

Chris Bell
Chris joined thatgamecompany to create emotional experiences that foster collaboration. He perceives play as a global language -- a lighthearted phenomenon all humans partake in. As architects of play, game designers need to develop their games with communication in mind, empowering players to confide in each other through gameplay itself. Before lending these beliefs to “Journey”, Chris began developing them with “Way”: a collaborative game where 2 anonymous players must communicate to solve puzzles. In the game, communication and gameplay are performed through a single puppeteering system (no text or speech), empowering strangers around the world to communicate and collaborate on equal terms. Chris hopes that with games like “Journey” and “Way”, players around the world will empathize with each other and…cross-his-fingers…become friends. Chris was named an IGDA Scholar in 2009 for developing games that cross cultures. He has worked under Will Wright at The Stupid Fun Club, is an advocate for experimental design, is a hobbyist graphic designer, and chats about games at He’s always looking for new friends -- just send him a message at Cheers! :)

Robin Hunicke
Robin joined thatgamecompany in 2009 and is our Producer Extraordinaire. A designer and computer scientist by training, Robin is a passionate advocate for bringing positive, new gaming experiences to the public. Her prior work includes family-friendly franchises like MySims and Steven Spielberg’s BOOM BLOX for Nintendo Wii. Robin is an active organizer for the IGDA, LA’s annual IndieCade festival, and the Experimental Gameplay Workshop @ GDC. In her “spare time” she’s speaks publicly on game design and production, and is finishing a PhD in Artificial Intelligence at Northwestern University. She believes that by uniting academic, student and professional game development communities we can design & produce fresh, broadly-accessible ideas, create sustainable work practices and increase our industry’s overall diversity.