Building Futures, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) think tank with CABE and architectural practice The AOC, today launches the 'The Building Futures Game' at an event in Daventry, Northamptonshire. The Building Futures Game presents an accessible and innovative new approach to tackling the big issues involved in town planning and development.
Essentially, The Building Futures Game is a form of scenario planning. Participants work through a lively and interactive process of 'playing out' a range of possible futures, generating a number of possible resolutions. Working through this process, participants are given a chance to really get to grips with the fundamental issues affecting town planning in their towns and cities
The event features a live game playing exercise based on a real proposed retail scheme for Daventry by Henry Boot developers and MCA architects with the West Northants Development Corporation (WNDC). The proposals will impact greatly on the town centre area and form part of a wider strategy for the town's regeneration and future growth. The Building Futures Game will give stakeholders in this scheme the opportunity to discuss their aspirations for the proposal area in a new and alternative way.
The process allows participants to follow through the stages of planning and development with their scenarios in a realistic way, abiding by certain rules and time limits within a structured framework. The Building Futures Game has been created to be as true to life as possible, and also features a series of 'unexpected event' cards, which pose challenges to the decision making process.
The Building Futures Game has already been trialled by councils in Derbyshire, Swindon and Newcastle, whose sessions were received very successfully; one council was able to identify unresolved issues about aspirations for the city and it opened up vast areas of opportunity for another.
Tamsie Thomson, head of Building Futures at RIBA said:
'The Building Futures Game is a fantastic way to get the right people talking to each other. Groups can interact, share ideas through open conversation and are given the chance to approach their issue by 'thinking outside the box'. As it's a collaborative process, it works as a resource to open up conversation between different groups by creating a speculative outcome, exploring and developing alternatives from different positions. It doesn't need an expert facilitator and it's as easy as Monopoly!'
Daisy Froud from AOC said:
'Developing the Building Futures Game has been a really exciting project for us. We have enjoyed the challenge of creating a framework for more proactive, intelligent and enjoyable conversations about planning, and relished the opportunity to work with and learn from so many groups around the country. We look forward to working alongside the Building Futures team to promote and disseminate this new tool.'
There will also be a training session at the RIBA, London on 1 April 2008, where attendees and interested parties can see how the game works in practice, and how they could benefit from its use.