RMIT Europe has brought together 20 key researchers across Europe to discuss design, regulatory and social issues surrounding urban play.
Holopainen said the event served as a platform to raise awareness of the social implications of disused and dysfunctional public spaces.
"In an effort to overcome these challenges, we encouraged participants to brainstorm creative urban design solutions," he said.
"We also wanted the workshop to foster a network of researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders for future collaborative projects."
Guests on the day included municipal regulators, participants from the smart cities industry, urban designers, interaction designers and non-government organisations within the commons movement.
At the workshop, participants were asked to generate playful design options that would unite the public and then indentify potential issues surrounding such implementation.
Holopainen said the future of the smart cities approach is people-centric, not technology-, government-, or even user-centric.
To successfully end the day, participants presented the three most promising project ideas from the many developed, with the purpose of spinning off concrete initiatives.
Does Holopainen think that playful design strategy will become a necessary part of urban planning?
"It's a mechanism that can be used to narrow the gap between the physical and digital world," he said.
"The problem is that there's a gap between the physical and the digital world.
"We need to look at ways to bridge this gap to create more holistic engagements in the urban realm that don't isolate."
Story: Andrea Christie