Bristol is an inherently playful city, so it’s no surprise that Playable City began here in 2012

Around this time Watershed recognised that many exciting ideas were emerging, that engaged people with the cities in which they lived. In Bristol, projects like the Igfest street games festival and Playing Out were really taking off, and further afield things like Open City Guimares were actively engaging citizens with city development. It felt like a perfect moment to launch Playable City.

The programme kicked off at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, with a Playable City Sprint that brought together creatives from East Asia and the UK. Over five days, participants worked together to experiment and prototype new ideas for Bristol, that used creative technologies to playfully rethink public space.

Since then, Bristol has engaged tens of thousands of people, hosting Playable City international awards, supporting development of projects including Shadowing, Hello Lamp Post and Urbanimals; a residential Lab in collaboration with Recife; a game of BikeTAG Colour Keepers which grew out of the Sprint; and an annual workshop for Malaysia’s Taylors University.