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Serious Games in Spatial Planning: Strengths, Limitations and Support Frameworks


  • Micael Sousa University of Coimbra
  • António Pais Antunes CITTA, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Nuno Pinto Spatial Policy and Analysis Laboratory, Manchester Urban Institute, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
  • Nelson Zagalo Department of Communication and Art Department, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portuga



Complexity, Participation, Serious Games, Spatial Planning


Serious games are being developed in many fields of research and proving to be valuable practical tools. In the planning field, games can help approach complexity and engage more participants through first-person experimentation. This paper presents an overview of the main strengths, limitations of applying serious games in Spatial Planning. The paper also discusses available support frameworks. And it proposes some guidelines for researchers and practitioners that want to profit from game usage. Serious Games can be powerful tools but can easily lead to failure processes, which demand previous systematic analysis of what planners may do and expect from games.

Author Biography

Micael Sousa, University of Coimbra

Graduate in civil engineering. Graduate in History with minor in arts and heritage. Master degree in energy and environment. Master degree in heritage studies. Ph.D candidate in spatial planning. 

Civil engineer, with experience in project managing of public and private construction works. Manager of maintenance works, working also with health, safety, and environmental systems. Worked as Councilor adjunct in the city of Leiria for the planning and urban department, coordinator of the Strategic Plan for Urban Development, and in the Urban Master Plan for Leiria. Researcher, trainer and invited lecturer, speaker about serious games, and analog games developer for entertainment and serious games. Teacher of history. Coordinator of several associations and volunteer organizations.
Researcher about transports, environment, planning, and serious games. Creative entrepreneur, blogger, newspaper writer, podcaster, and YouTuber about general knowledge issues, serious games, board games, politics, philosophy, and planning.





How to Cite

Sousa, M., Pais Antunes, A. ., Pinto, N., & Zagalo, N. (2022). Serious Games in Spatial Planning: Strengths, Limitations and Support Frameworks. International Journal of Serious Games, 9(2), 115–133.