Urban Games

The Urban Games aim at bringing about sustainable long-term interference into Plovdiv’s cityscape, as well as rediscovering and revitalizing deserted city spaces - as part of the social programme of Plovdiv2019 European Capital of Culture and as a continuation of the partnership with Matera 2019 Foundation thus enriching the urban games approach as a powerful strategy to improve, make alive and take back abandoned city areas. We want to continue the stared boost of developing a community of creative people that would explore this topic in the next years and to make it an important cornerstone of the 2019 cultural programme and the legacy of the European Capital of Culture initiative.

Urban Games 2019 coming from 8th to 10th November in Plovdiv as FUSION Urban Games Festival 

When was the last time you played a game? Do you remember this pleasant excitement at the beginning, shivers down your spine when you solved the most difficult riddle and unlimited happiness when you finally won?

If we tell you that we're going to play games in an ancient city beautifully laid on the hills, with vibrant culture and friendly citizens would it be interesting for You? And now - multiply this by 2, and imagine we're going to play games in amazing Bulgarian Plovdiv and fascinating Italian Matera.

During two weekends (31 October - 2 November 2019 in Matera, and 8 - 10 November 2019 in Plovdiv) we will explore crowded streets and forgotten corners, blooming parks and concrete jungles, steep hills and mysterious undergrounds. With combined forces of local experts (citizens of Plovdiv and Matera) and urban game designers from all around the world, we will create fusion and try to discover again and rethink urban spaces in two cities.

The festival is part of Plotera, “Plovdiv and Matera together for an Open Future” weekend - the common cultural programme for Plovdiv and Matera - the two European Capitals of Culture for 2019.

Organization: Foundation Plovdiv 2019 and Matera-Basilicata 2019 Foundation

Curational concept: Departament Gier

Fusion - Urban Games Festival Plovdiv 2019 from Plovdiv 2019 on Vimeo.

Our main interests in this festival would be 3 topics:

Digital culture and its impact on people’s lives
Digital revolution is not a new theme. We got used to fast internet, powerful smartphones and internet services. Technologies like IoT, VR, AR are no longer extraordinary - some solutions proved to be useful, others didn’t succeed. Digital natives - the generation that doesn’t know the world without the internet - are now adults setting up their careers and personal life. Technological progress is so fast that no one is able to catch up with all the news.

What are the changes that technology brings to our lives? What are the opportunities and threats? Can technologies help us deal with the biggest challenges of our world? How can we use technologies in games?

Center and Peripheries
What does it mean to be a periphery today - is this term still relevant in the time of mobility and widespread internet? Is it ok to be not in the center? What are the benefits of being a periphery? Are the peripheries good place for living? Can they be a solution for those who seek work-life balance in the spirit of hygge or slow-life concepts? How to build an identity of peripheral cities.

In the long-lasting discussion about the center and peripheries, we will try to approach this fascinating topic using games.

The City - my responsibility
Who has the power in the city? How to deal with city problems? What challenges in the cities will we face soon? What is the role of local experts and “temporary citizens”? Can games make changes in cities as well?

No matter whether you are an inhabitant or a visitor - the place is also your responsibility. All in all - it is much more fun when you have an impact on the city!

Games make it as easy to test different ways of designing the city, solving social problems, living together, being together close or distanced. Games are a tool to help us understand complex systems that make up our everyday life: they are to be treated as a new form of being together, of communicating and of self-experience. For Matera and Plovdiv, the European Capital of Culture 2019 games and, in this case, urban games have always been considered as important tools of social activation, of territorial inclusion and as sustainable ways of creating a network virtuous citizens. In pursuit of the objectives envisaged by the Matera-Basilicata 2019 Foundation Dossier and the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation, they intend to co-produce the FUSION Urban Games Festival, with the aim of enhancing the territories through the rediscovery and revelation of the city dimensions and criteria for the proposal of a stable network of permanent and temporary citizens interested in active participation in civil life.

Urban Games 2018 in the Tobacco City/Time Machine

The 2018 edition (16 - 18 November 2018) under the motto ‘Time Machine’ will turn again the Tobacco City into an emotional and engaging center. All details, games, and pre-registration - here as well as at facebook.

Urban Games 2017 in the Tobacco City/Inception!

Searching for hidden treasures and signs in the city, making strategies for planning and building your own buildings and cardboard factories, ghost and zombie gauntlets in the dark, discovering the most unexpected places in the familiar environment – these are part of the urban gaming experience for participants of any age.

The pilot edition in Plovdiv under the motto ‘Inseption!’ was organized in 2017 in partnership with the Department Gier from Poland, PlayVienna from Austria and the Italian collective Urban Games Factory. Despite its small format, the event attracted 230 players, including neighbourhood residents, students, and families with children. See details here

The project is a joint production of Plovdiv 2019 and Matera 2019. In 2019, the two capitals of culture will produce special new games dedicated to the rethinking and transformation of the urban environment, meaningful communication with material and intangible cultural heritage and the identification of identity.

The urban games are a method of community development and neighbourhood revitalization. Applying unorthodox and joyous approach, the designers of the urban game rises important topics and questions regarding the development and customization of the topos and its hidden assets to a wide audience. The alfresco games in the dynamic modern cities provide a way of getting to know each other as well as promoting new cultural products and associating a new meaning to mundane objects and interweaving them into the city fabric.


The project is produced by Plovdiv 2019 and Matera 2019. Find information and an array of hot news on our site: tobacco-city.plovdiv2019.eu/bg as well as on www.facebook.com/events.

Urban Games 2018/Time Machine (16 - 18 November 2018)/Promises

Programme Transform

Urban Games 2018/Time Machine (16 - 18 November 2018)/The Legacy/Lessons from the Future

Programme Transform

Urban Games 2018/Time Machine (16 - 18 November 2018)

Programme Transform

FUSION Urban Games Festival (8 - 10 November 2019)

Programme Transform

FUSION Urban Games Festival (8 - 10 November 2019)

Programme Transform

Tobacco City! Time Machine - Urban Games weekend festival!

Three-day urban game festival promoted by Plovdiv 2019 - European Capital of Culture

Urban Games Festival 2019 (Save the Date / 8–10 November)



General partners

EU Japan Fest
Pod tepeto

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