New paper: Towards a Typology of Urban Gamification

A new paper for ReClaim is out, published in the Proceedings of HICSS 2019: “Towards a Typology of Urban Gamification”.


The paper is open access and you can find the article in the Publications section!


Play has always had its place in the city. From simple games like “don’t walk on the pavement lines” to AR location-based games such as Pokémon Go, many playful practices use the urban spaces as their playground. Today, however, city-play emerges as a powerful tool capable of promoting senses of ownership, community, and belonging which all may contribute to improving urban life and the well-being of citizens. In order to study and understand better these practices, this paper aims to construct a typology of urban gamification activities. As many the efficacy of many of these activities seems to lie on the way the change the citizens’ perception of the urban space, this paper will engage in this topic with a meaning-centered approach based on urban semiotics.

This paper aims to propose a tentative typology of urban play in the wider frame of gamification. Based on the semiotic features of urban spaces and of human activities within them. The paper starts by outlining the existing perspectives on urban gamification and by describing the semiotic feature of urban spaces. Based on these, the author constructs a brief typology of urban gamification in regard of the kind of action undertaken and how it involves the city. Finally, a few examples (Flash mobs and Google Street-view photobombing among others) are analyzed by the mean of this typology, underlining how playful activities of urban gamification can influence the citizens’ perception and interpretation of the urban environment.




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