Categorization Framework

From Public Play Space Community

The projects are analysed and described using an innovative framework, articulated into 3 concentric levels of analysis and categorisation. This analytical approach allows a deeper understanding of projects that shows a high level of complexity and sophistication, enabling the reader to extract learnings on the different impacts and strategies.

At the same time, this categorization will enable the reader to navigate the project according to different features, actions, and properties that characterize them.

The first level of analysis describes each project based on the three categories of Space, Game, and Play.

  • Space Represents the spatial scale in which the project is executed and its audience.
  • Game Represents the project’s main purpose.
  • Play Represents the instruments used in the best practices.

Three sub-categories are identified for each one of them, and they are finally further described in a third level of analysis. Please see them as follows:


Purpose The project's aim.
Activation The project aims to activate the public space.
Interconnection The project aims to connect the audience.
Collaborating The project aims to encourage the audience to work together.
Raise awareness The project aims to raise awareness
Educate The project aims to teach the audience about certain topics.
Visualise needs The project either documents the already known needs or finds out what the needs are.
Simulate impact of decisions The project aims to test decisions, ideas, and creations in a simulation.
Decision making The project aims for the audience to make decisions.
Designing The project aims to make a design. This can be a vision, a masterplan, and/or brainstorming sketches.
Co-creation Co-creation is the development of a new game, outcome, concept or purpose with citizens, stakeholders, a community, policy makers or planning experts.
Co-analysis Collaborative analysis of the existing dynamics of the public realm.
Co-design Collaborative development of design solutions for the public realm
Co-implementation Collaborative implementation of certain actions (as for example installations)
Co-maintenance Collaborative maintenance of the public realm based on project's mechanics
Co-monitoring Collaborative monitoring and analysis of the public realm based on project's mechanics
Outcome The project's results.
Decision making The project results in decisions.
Knowledge The project results in the audience gaining knowledge.
Assessment The project results in an assessment.
Design The project results in a design. This can be a vision, a masterplan, etc.
Inclusion The project results in inclusion of the community.
Awareness The project results in awareness for the situation discussed among the audience.
Partnership The project results in a partnership among the audience.


Mechanics Mechanics are the rules which the user and producer of the game follow. They react to responses of the user's action, and define the way the game will be played. Mechanics can be seen as the action within and upon a game. (Boller, 2013)
Alternative reality An alternative reality in a game can create a different environment where common held beliefs like the sky is blue can be challenged or changed. Alternative reality can also be explained as a parallel universe (Alternative reality, n.d.; Cambridge dictionary, n.d.).
Role play The audience of each play the role of a stakeholder in the project.
Rule based play Rule based play can include adapting rules to each play situation by means of negotiation. (Mraz, Porcelli, & Tyler, 2016)
Location based The project is bound to one or several locations.
Simulations With simulations the project can recreate real life events and do tests without harming or influencing the actual situation (Encyclopaedia Britannic, n.d.).
Mapping An operation that associates each element of a given set (the domain) with one or more elements of a second set (the range) (Lexico, Oxford dictionary, n.d.).
Geolocation Geolocation allows the user to identify an object in it's real location by means of radar, internet source or mobile phone. (Lexico, Oxford dictionary, n.d.)
Hypothesis A hypothesis is a proposed outcome made up from limited knowledge and facts.
Metagame A metagame is a game in which the action done by the player surpasses the set out rules for the game. This means that the player can go beyond the environment set by the game (Patchryan, 2016).
Technology and tools Technology and practical tools enabling the game experience and functionality.
AR/VR Project uses Augmented, Virtual or Mixed Reality. With AR and MR, 2D or 3D computer-generated data and information are overlaid on the real world view (Kounavis, Kasimati & Zamani, 2012. pp. 1-2).

With VR this data and information generates a computer simulated environment, detached from the reality. VR provides the effects of a concrete existence without actually having a concrete existence (Beck, Rainoldi & Egger, 2018; Desai, Desai, Ajmera, Mehta, 2014).

Data collection and visualization Project collects Data on the users' behaviour and experience and can be visualised thanks to several techniques.
Mobile The project makes use of a mobile device such as a smartphone or a Tablet.
Analoge tangibles The project makes use of non-digital tools.
Audio-visual The project makes use of images/video and/or sound.
Digital interface Project makes use of digital video or audio devices through which users act in the game and/or interact with other users.
Data and Artificial Intelligence Project collects Data on the user's behaviour and processes it thanks to Artificial Intelligence tools to interact with the users' behaviour.
"Aesthetics The sensory aesthetic of the game (Niedenthal, Simon, 2009)
Sensation The sensation of a game can be felt when playing the game, whether these are moderate or 'dramatic' emotions.
Imagination Imagination is the ability to form new images or objects without an example to follow.
Assemblage Assemblage of a game is the collection of the objects to make the game functional or to complete the objective.
Physical activity construction The project is set in real life and requires physical activity like for example a scavenger hunt etc.
Realism The project has features that look like or are real life.


Scale The level on which the project will be developed and implemented.
Audience The assembled spectators of the project.
Community The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.
Stakeholders An individual, business etc. with an interest or concern in the project.
Planning experts A very knowledgeable about or skilful in the project or particular sub focus area of the project concerning urban planning.
Policy makers An individual responsible for, or involved in formulating policies that affect the project.
Scope Targeted or untargeted group that the project will effect through delivering on specific needs.
Individual (1)
Small group (2-10)
Larger group (11-30)
Crowd (30+)