GoDesign Games

A generative framework for participatory spatial design, funded by Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap, Ontwerpkracht,(2019/05-2021/05)

Team: Ir. S. Azadi, Dr.ir. P. Nourian Consultant/Advisor: DEMO Consultants B.V. and, Dr.ir. Geertje Bekebrede

Keywords: Generative Design, Participatory Design, Topological Design, Multi-Criteria Decision-Making, Gamification

GoDesign Games is a general mathematical framework for participatory and multi-criteria spatial design at the scale of urban blocks or multi-functional building complexes (i.e. neighborhood design to architectural design) for structuring design tasks as discrete spatial decision-making problems. The project starts from a mathematical formulation of multi-dimensional (spatial), multi-objective and multi-actor decision problems (Huang, et al., 2011; Hermans & Cunningham, 2018) structured into three consequent steps: 1) Planning: a gamified process to compose a bi-partite graph describing preferences of spatial programs (accessibility, visibility, noise, etc.), 2) Configuring: finding a mapping from discretized volume units (voxels) to the set of spatial programs, and 3) Shaping: polygonization of the configuration described by the mapping of the previous step. Throughout the entire workflow, various forms of feedback on environmental/spatial consequences pertaining to visibility and accessibility inter-relations of the alternatives are provided to the decision-makers. Furthermore, GoDesign presents the data structures and the main algorithms for structuring the entire workflow as a gamified multi-actor decision-making process whose outcomes will be schematic configurations that can be worked out in terms of construction details.

The initial step, Planning, focuses on the multi-objective and multi-actor aspect of the spatial design problems. Our gamified decision making process enables the stakeholders of the project to achieve consensus on the specifications of the project (Batty, 2013, 2016), which will be captured in a bipartite graph (Bai, 2020) describing the preference profile of each spatial program.

Image Credit: Student Project Zoho Pearl
Image Credit: Student Project CUB3D

The second step, Configuring, focuses on multi-dimensional and multi-objective aspects of the problem. The inputs are the bipartite graph of spatial preferences, discretized boundary volume, and the context information. A simulation engine will attempt to find a mapping from the voxels to the set of spatial programs under the condition that the preferences are satisfied (Nourian, 2016).

Image Credit: Student Project CUB3D

Image Credit: Student Project Apidae
Image Credit: Student Project CUB3D

The final step, Shaping, is only concerned with multi-dimensional aspects of the problem. The resultant mapping from the Configuring step will be polygonized to create the geometrical representation of the configuration (Savov, et al., 2020).

Image Credit: Student Project CUB3D*


Peer-Reviewed Publications:

Presentations in Professional Media:



  1. Bai N, Azadi S, Nourian P, Pereira Roders A. 2020. Decision-Making as a Social Choice Game: Gamifying an urban redevelopment process in search for consensus. In Anthropologic – Architecture and Fabrication in the cognitive age - Proceedings of the 38th eCAADe. Vol. 2. 2020. p. 555-564

  2. Batty, M. (2013). The New Science of Cities. The MIT Press. DOI

  3. Batty, M. (2016). Evolving a Plan: Design and Planning with Complexity. In Complexity, Cognition, Urban Planning and Design (pp. 21-42). Springer, Cham.

  4. Hermans, L. M., & Cunningham, S. W. (2018). Actor and Strategy Models: Practical Applications and Step-wise Approaches. John Wiley & Sons.

  5. Huang, I. B., Keisler, J., & Linkov, I. (2011). Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: Ten years of applications and trends. Science of The Total Environment, 409(19), 3578–3594. DOI

  6. Nourian, P., 2016. Configraphics: Graph theoretical methods for design and analysis of spatial configurations.

  7. Savov, A., Winkler, R., Tessmann, O., 2020. Encoding Architectural Designs as Iso-surface Tilesets for Participatory Sculpting of Massing Models, in: Gengnagel, C., Baverel, O., Burry, J., Ramsgaard Thomsen, M., Weinzierl, S. (Eds.), Impact: Design With All Senses. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 199–213. DOI