The Urban Renewal Board Game

  • Toronto-based visual artist Flavio Trevisan’s work is always strongly related to mapping and analyzing the urban fabric. One of his projects is ‘The Game of Urban Renewal’, a board game that introduces its players to the exciting world of urban renewal. The game can be played by any number of people and enables players to “do all the things that are done in a modern city’s cut-throat planning office”.

    Each player assumes a role, varying from City Councilor and Developer to Man-On-The-Street and Skyscraper Enthusiast. Participants can demolish a failed urban experiment and start again from the ground up to realize their ambitions and build the ideal city. Players have to pick cards that tell them what to do. The Game of Urban Renewal seems to have some aspects in common with Sim City, as players can develop urban areas with specific functions — commercial buildings, housing, public spaces, schools, and so on. The game never ends, explains Trevisan. “Continue playing until all players have left the game in pursuit of other interests.”

    The Game of Urban Renewal was part of this year’s ‘Museum of the Represented City’, an exhibition around Trevisan’s work that unravels Toronto’s urban structure. Visitors could buy the game’s ‘Special Regent Park Edition’ in the exhibit’s gift shop.