Keeping Cork Active
Keeping Cork Active

URBACT Playful Paradigm

What is the URBACT Playful Paradigm?

The URBACT Playful Paradigm is based on gamification as an innovative concept for promoting social inclusion, healthy lifestyles & energy awareness, intergenerational & cultural mediation, place-making & economic prosperity. Games offer new strategies for engaging city stakeholders in urban development. 

The Italian city of Udine developed “Playful Paradigm” as a concept and where chosen as the lead city to head up a URBACT European Transfer Networking Project on Play. URBACT is an EU funding stream that encourages cities across the union to explore innovative and sustainable methods to tackle shared challenges. URBACT projects such as the “Playful Paradigm” are based on a learning transfer model. A ‘Lead City’ models a behaviour, methodology or policy approach, and invites partner cities to learn from them, and transfer good practise to their own municipality.

Udine was chosen as a number of years ago as a Municipality they began to trial a new way to tackle a diverse range of challenges they faced-including energy efficiency and climate change, engaging marginalised communities, place making and providing services for older adults. Udine began to take a playful, games-focused approach to finding solutions and involving stakeholders. As this practise evolved, the municipality noted associated benefits. Whether by using playful methods to reach out to communities or run placemaking processes, or by prioritising spaces and opportunities for play and games.

Why was Cork chosen to participate?

  • Cork City presented a strong, inter-agency project group, including Cork Healthy Cities, Cork City Council (including Learning Cities) and the Public Participation Network
  • Cork is a Healthy City and had worked with Udine under the WHO programme in the past

Each URBACT Playful Paradigm transfer network has a URBACK Local Group ULG that focuses on a number of key action areas to develop. The Cork ULG has a focus on developing the following action areas for Cork City:

  • Implementation of random games and gamification events or activities
  • Building capacity across Cork city to deliver fun filled festivals
  • Collaborating with local communities for playful projects
  • Developing a library service for play and toys in the library

A number of activities, events and initiatives have taken place across Cork city since 2018 as part of this project. Over 40 events have been supported, a sample of these include:

  • Family Fun Days
  • Road Closure Events (Marina, Blackrock)
  • Urban October Events
  • Cork Summer Show Play Activities
  • Library Activities 

To read more about the URBACT Playful Paradigm Click here >>>   

For further enquiries

Denise Cahill, Cork Healthy Cities Coordinator


Martha Halbert, Community and Enterprise Section, Cork City Council

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