Pokémon Go in your streets and centres

Police remind Pokémon Go gamers to stay aware of their surroundings to avoid accidents. However, the real tragedy will be places which miss the opportunity to impress new visitors with their intrinsic qualities. 

Vernon Terrace, Teneriffe, QLD, AUS: annual Teneriffe Festival attracts 50,000 people. How attractive are our streets on a day-to-day basis?Vernon Terrace, Teneriffe, QLD, AUS: annual Teneriffe Festival attracts 50,000 people. How attractive are our streets on a day-to-day basis?Written by: Andrew Hammonds

Thanks to The Age

In the USA a gamer reportedly started a major accident after stopping in the middle of a highway to catch a Pikachu! He said “Sh*t if you wanna catch them all you gotta risk it all so I put my car in park and started tossing these balls”.

My kids have been out in the neighbourhood all weekend playing Pokémon Go - getting exercise and meeting friends. After reading about a gamer in the US state of Wyoming finding a dead body while looking for Pokémon, I wondered what my kids would unearth in these places to attract them back.

Released last Thursday, Pokémon Go encourages players to venture out into our streets, places and centres to search for Pokémon. Heading off to work? Don’t forget to check your phone to see if a Zubat is on the train with you. In a cafe with friends? There may just be a Pidgey walking down the footpath.

Pokémon Go on the streets of Brisbane (émon Go on the streets of Brisbane ( game uses GPS technology and layers gameplay onto the real world - also called augmented reality. Gamers, or Pokémon trainers, wander the streets in search of digital creatures to catch and train. The mobile game is downloaded as an app. It is based on the Nintendo video game made popular in the 1990s and played on hand-held Game Boys.  

But as in all Pokémon games, the catching is only half the adventure. Your monsters fight other people’s at gyms. They’re the biggest things on the in-game map, and usually located at prominent real-world meeting places. Just look for the white pedestal surrounded by spotlights.

So why are people seeking out virtual creatures while at work or as they walk to school? Part of the reason Pokémon Go is popular is that it’s free, so it’s easy to download and play. But more importantly, it fulfils a fantasy fans have had since launch: What if Pokémon were real and inhabited our world?

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the phenomenon has had a noticeable presence on the city's streets. Hundreds of players converged on Federation Square for an organised party on Saturday.

Will gamers unearth enough interest in your places to attract them back? What other opportunities can augmented reality offer Placemaking?

We generate discussion in our training courses on Placemaking and urban design. While there are common qualities to the places we like, our own views matter. I started this blog to continue this discussion on-line. The Comments section at the bottom of each article provides the opportunity, so don't be bashful. Particularly if you disagree!

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Written: 12 July, 2016

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