The input of citizens during the planning phase is important but tends to be a tricky process. TNO has developed the Neighbourhood Wizard for this, a game whereby neighbourhood residents can acquire insight into the consequences of their own solutions.
The (re)design of a neighbourhood is complex and involves many players, including the neighbourhood resident who is a very special player. He is the end user of the neighbourhood, is confronted with it on a daily basis and has to feel at home there. It is therefore essential that the neighbourhood resident feels involved in determining the changes in his neighbourhood. Experience shows that this is far from an easy process, for both the neighbourhood resident and the other players, particularly because e the neighbourhood resident and the contractor/designer don not always speak the same language. Neighbourhood residents sometimes have difficulty making clear their preferences and problems concerning the planning and the contractor is not always able to get through to them either. In addition, neighbourhood residents don't always take into consideration the general good in their 'no'. Finally, the current procedure of resident participation is not satisfactory. Residents may have a voice but too little is done with what is heard.
TNO developed the Neighbourhood Wizard to facilitate the decision-making process and enhance mutual understanding between the neighbourhood resident and the contractor. The Neighbourhood Wizard is a game that literally makes the impact of changes clear. More 'sofas' mean a higher score for the aspect of 'conviviality', though this will produce a lower score for 'security'. It also becomes clear whether the neighbour values the extra conviviality or not. Residents have to take account of the consequences of design decisions at all kinds of levels. The choices and consequences are weighed against personal and general vested interest, which creates support. By using the Neighbourhood Wizard residents will see 'the greater whole' and collaborate during the design phase. A designer is no longer regarded as an adversary but as an ally in efforts to achieve an optimal solution.
Various customers have asked TNO to produce a customised game for them. If you are interested, just contact us.