Gamification in Urban Governance

The concept of “gamification” in Vanolo’s (2018) article “Cities and the politics of gamification” is very novel and interesting, which is closely related to the development of the current era. It can be said that it is the specific application of the development of digital technologies. In the near future, the application of gamification can play a significant role in urban governance.

On July 1 this year, Shanghai, China, took the lead in realizing recycling. The Regulations on Shanghai Municipal Solid Waste Management, known as the most stringent recycling policy in history, were formally implemented. Although it is natural to recycle in Canada, there has never been any awareness of recycling in China before.

According to Vanolo’s (2018) article, gamification is the mobilisation and implementation of game elements in managing social problems and issues. In order to help ordinary citizens better understand and learn recycling, is it possible to apply gamification to this city governance policy of recycling? Municipal governments can combine digital technology with urban governance to develop games or apps that focus on recycling by introducing ludic elements, such as rankings, scores, badges, levels, rewards and virtual currencies. Because this will make recycling more interesting and attractive, and make people more motivated to participate. This will not only better popularize the knowledge of recycling for the citizens, so that the citizens can do more accurately and better in recycling practice, but also make the policy formulated by the government better implemented.

@shangzhicui, in his/her reading response, talked about the positive role of gamification in improving his/her enthusiasm for exercise, which may also be reflected in improving the participation of public in urban policy. Citizens will be happy to compete with each other to see who contributes more to environmental protection. They will be willing to participate because it is a matter of gaining a sense of self-worth and contributing to environmental protection, which is what Vanolo’s (2018) article says about intrinsic and social rewards.

On the other hand, gamfication in political elections may facilitate the election of more responsive governments, thereby better governing cities. Vanolo’s (2018) mentions that well-designed games may encourage political participation. Politically attentive people are more likely to prefer competition suggested by the results of data analysis in Brunell and Clarke’s (2012) research. Therefore gamfication will increase the level of competition in political elections. And “competitive elections lead to more responsive government” (Brunell and Clarke, 2012).

By promoting the participation of citizens and responsiveness of public officials to improve the level of urban governance, the application of gamification in urban life has great potential for development. In the future, there will be more extensive and in-depth research on the relationships between gamfication processes and cities. Science and technology will ultimately promote the progress of the city and improve the quality of urban life. 


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