Gentrification: The Game! Comes to Toronto Next Week

Image by Alex Raynes-Goldie

On July 25, Atmosphere Industries will bring Gentrification: The Game! to life at the Pedestrian Sundays event at the Kensington Market in Toronto, Canada. This critically acclaimed public space game has already been hosted in New York and at the Hide & Seek Festival in London and has won multiple awards, including Best in Fest and Best Use of Technology at this summer’s 2010 Come Out and Play in Brooklyn, New York.

Gentrification: The Game! will give participants the chance to explore their cities and think about issues of urban renewal, local politics, and urban growth. According to their press release, players will be divided into teams of real estate developers and local residents, as they:

fight to collect real-life properties, build chain coffee shops, form BIAs, and bend the neighbourhood to their will. They’ll craft slick advertising campaigns, deliver impassioned speeches, and probably run around a bit. One part real-world Monopoly, one part public-space hacking, and one part pure spectacle, Gentrification helps players and the public think about and enjoy their public space in a new and unexpected way.

Play takes place in rounds, providing each side with different tactics such as “Slightly Creepy But Wise Neighbourhood Guy Gives Impassioned, Poetic Speech” for local residents or my favorite, “Hired Goons” (for developers, of course). Progress during gameplay is monitored both through use of sidewalk chalk and a mobile app. An article in the Toronto Star gives an interesting perspective about why the Kensington Market neighborhood is the right fit for Gentrification: The Game!

The Toronto-based crossmedia collective Atmosphere Industries describes itself as a group of “nifty Canadians who create award-winning cross media experiences that excite, educate and engage. Our projects tend to combine fun, community, technology, and a hearty helping of sprinkles.” Their games emphasize the locative and local, integrating public space and mobile technology in exciting ways, and past projects include Papparazzi, a GPS-driven cat-and-mouse game for the 2009 Come Out and Play, and Ghost Town, which transformed downtown Perth, Australia, into a public game space.

The event is free, but registration is required because the game is limited to five to six players on each side. Visit the Gentrification: The Game! site to register and for more information. Hurry up, there are only a handful of spaces left, at the time of this writing!

WHEN: July 25, 2010 at 1 PM
WHERE: Kensington Market, Toronto: Corner of Augusta Ave & Denison Sq (by Amadeus Cafe)

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