B3 is a playful, interactive participatory game for planning public spaces. It enables the citizens to explore a city district, to experiment and create their own design of a public space, vote for the preferred designs and chat with urban planning experts and other citizens. It was originally implemented for the design of the marketplace in Billstedt, Hamburg, Germany.
The B3 game provides a playful digital environment and enables the players to design their own version of a public space. They can start the game watching a video showing the public space of their interest; or chose to read or download documents related to the general conditions of the urban planning situation. The B3 game offers three levels of additional help; low level, standard, or extensive help. The players can choose a little helper, which is a creative and smart helper that accompanies the player through the game. The little helper gives additional advice how to use the functionalities of the game and cheers-up the player. The game starts with a 3D or 2D representation of the public space. The player can use a variety of urban elements – benches, trees, fountains – and can place them into the public space. She can play and move the urban elements, place them in the public space and create her own version of the public space. The designs created by the players can be submitted within the B3 game. One submitted they become visible for other players. The players can comment the designs published by other players, they can vote for those that they like the most and chat with the experts, or other citizens.
The usability of the game was tested with a group of students and elderly people. The majority of the participants involved in testing expressed appreciation for the digital serious game as a new form of online civic engagement in urban planning.
The prototype of the B3 game – Design your Marketplace! was implemented for the marketplace in Billsted, a district of the city Hamburg. The first prototype of the game was designed and developed within an international student exchange program, organized in collaboration between HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU).
“Game players design the market place in Billstedt in the GeoGame B3″