Neighborhood Gamification

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Wikipedia says gamification "is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts... to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, flow, learning, crowdsourcing, employee recruitment and evaluation, ease of use, usefulness of systems, physical exercise, traffic violations, voter apathy..."

This page's goal is the application of efficacious gamification practices in the neighborhood.

My Brief History w. Gamification[edit]

My brief encounter with gamification, by Thomas Lowenhaupt (n. 75th and 37th), December 2017

I experienced a déjà vu last month, with 2017 feeling like 2002.

Back then, after a several year effort to create an engaging website for my community board, I discovered that my fellow residents didn't view the new form of civic engagement as as a wondrous endeavor as I. My clue: one of the website's features (IMHO) was a discussion forum - rare or even unique on an official government provided resource back then. There I imagined the districts 175,000 residents delving into the issues of the day, moving us toward a better world, or at least community district. But nobody posted a meaningful comment, nary a hello for over a year from the site's initiation, to my best recollection.

Realizing that my likes and inclinations were apparently unlike those of my fellow community board members and neighbors, I sought a more efficacious method to facilitate engagement, adding a splash of water to enliven what most found a dry world of policy and governance. After some research I focused my efforts on squeezing some enlivening moisture out of games to sprout the initiative.

Reaching out, I found a fellow grad school alum who was also on a games path and joined with a few others to sponsor the Serious Games, Serious Issues conference in 2004. I felt I was off to a strong start in a just budding field. But my engagement with the games movement proved short lived.

In August 2005, while working on a redesign of Landing Lights Park on SecondLife on Democracy Island (now washed away by an accountants delete button), I received a call from a fellow in Berlin urging me to reengage with the effort to acquire the .nyc TLD (he wanted to pursue a .berlin initiative). (I'd introduced an Internet Empowerment Resolution in 2001 calling for the acquisition and development of the .nyc TLD as a public interest resource.) I agreed to what I thought would be a short term diversion from my newly acquired games focus.

However, this turned into a 10 year odyssey that ended with the city acquiring the .nyc TLD and the organization founded to advance the .nyc initiative starting a neighborhood communication center, JacksonHeights.nyc. Now (December 2017), after a year of engagement, the déjà vu has kicked in and I'm returning to the conclusion that gamification and collaboration techniques are as needed in 2017 as in 2002.

Dipping my toes into the games water (err, make that ocean) I was delighted to find Josh A. Lerner's Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics (MIT Press). And doing additional research I found that some of my fellow Serious Games collaborators were now designing civic media.

External Links[edit]