RE/SEARCH-Engine Toolbox/Adventure City Cards Game

Developmental model desicionmaking for future spatial planning of Alkmaar.
In collaboration with the municipality of Alkmaar and support of the incentive fund for architecture(Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur)

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design by Gilbert Koskamp and Arno van der Mark. (under the name DRFTWD)

RE/SEARCH-Engine is an interactive game that stimulates communication, exchange of knowledge and concept formation in the process of future urban development of historic cities. Users, c.q. inhabitants are central to the disicionmaking. This is made visible through the means in which ideas and plans are made and communicated within the game. Users are visibly present in the communication, the participation and finally in the development of future urbanization.

RE/SEACH-ENGINE thus contributes to:
• urban transformations, by independence of domains.
• development of public space, to a broadening of the public domain and a qualitative catch-up.
• urban imaging and visual culture, to a sensory experience of the city as a cultural phenomenon.
• the boost of city branding, for an intensive perception of city and urbanity and increasing the intensity of the urban culture.

What is the meaning of the historic city for future urbanity? In what perspective should the city be placed in terms of historic development, internal build and its position within network-society? What role is there for the inhbitants? Can they become new initiators in the development of the city in dealing with socio-cultural meaning, in generating stories? The history of the city is foremost the history of its inhabitants and their stories. In what way can visions on policy and future developments be an expression of this? Cultural heritage is not in buildings or places, but in people; buildings and places act as props, mediate the story-telling. Cultural heritage values are not things but notions. To activate cultural heritage values, notions are activated

In order to achieve the intended communication the game knows different layers. The game is a kind of bartering with concepts. Each term is accompanied by a short text and a picture, both of which give rise to associations with other concepts. Just as at a stockexchange, the results of trading are shown on screens. Live videos report on the state of affairs, which simultaneously visualises the renewal of the city. Thus a public competition of visions forms.


A layer is added to the space of the city; a collective memory, a cultural brainnetwork, e web spanning over and through the city, where information transfers create room for ever new connections, and thus determines the new physical space. This network is not physically but potentially present yet of elementary importance. It is a form of cultural connetionism within the field of cultural planning. The historic city is a collection of stories; a collective and cultural memory, where buildings are props telling the stories. The “history” concerns relations between stories, not finalized but is continued in a vision of the future. The historic city and the future city together form a city of time. Time implies ‘moving in space’ –continues changes and developments. The city is approached in terms of scenario, choreography, composition, visual story.

Designing is a from of communication; so is planning a matter of consultation, exchange of knowledge and concept formation. Preceding, problems should be mapped. One should ascertain oneself for whom one is working, one should listen to the stories of those involved, stories that occur not only at the level of the language, but also in behaviour and action. This refers to the actual use and occupation of the city.

Location: testcity Alkmaar, NL
Client: the municipality of Alkmaar and support of the incentive fund for architecture(Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur)
Architecture: DRFTWD OFFICE, Amsterdam
Designteam: Gilbert Koskamp en Arno van der Mark, Floris Paalman, Wiebe de Ridder
Development: start 2002, completion 2006

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