How to fix a stair in the city having fun

Apr 2011 | News & Notes

by Giacomo Neri

This morning it was my turn to explain a bit more of what I do. So I picked a project I’m collaborating with since this fall: it’s called CriticalCity Upload (www.criticalcity.org) 


CriticalCity is a urban game that let you do things you have never done before and It works like this:

you go to criticalcity.org and you create an account (only italian at the moment, we’re still “testing” it) 

  • you see a very long list of crazy weird tasks from the easiest (dancing on the street) to the hardest (walking backward for an entire day). Note that some of them can be accomplished only collaborating with other players
  • You keep on browsing the list (and seeing what other players have already done and maybe get some inspiration from them) until you find something you like to do.
  • Then since you’re new (level 1) you pick an easy task…let’s say: “explore an abandoned area and leave a triangular sign in it”
  • Then you simply go out of your home, do it (hopefully you also have fun) and remember to take pictures, videos, or both.
  • Then you come back to your screen upload everything and get the points and even more important the feedback from the other players
  • Then you repeat these steps from the beginning

So.. instead of explaining all these boring steps to my classmates I decided to just do one of those tasks with them and in particular I picked “A nuova vita 2” which means “To a new life (2nd)” and the brief sounds like this: “go out in the street and find something broken. Then fix it!”

Since every morning I go through a public staircase that has a broken step I thought: that would be a good target for our mission. So we took an hammer and a dozen of nails (I prepared them from yesterday, thanks Fop!) and half an hour later we had a fixed stair and lot of fun.

You can see the pictures and a very short and exiciting 3 minutes video directly here http://criticalcity.org/posts/9407

By the way: in my system oriented design class project I’m trying to apply similar bottom-up mechanism with new media to very different and much more delicate contexts (peace and security). So far.. it seems exciting… we’ll see in the end what comes out!