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ZWERM: stimulating urban neighborhood self-organization through gamification

Book Contribution - Book Chapter Conference Contribution

This paper investigates how self-organization can be supported at the level of the urban neighborhood, based on the interactions of neighborhood inhabitants using a prototyped and implemented social computing application called ZWERM1. According to Vasileva (2012), "Social Computing Applications" (SCA) allow users to discuss various topics in online forums, share their thoughts in blogs, share photos, videos, bookmarks, and connect with friends through social networks." (Vasileva, 2012, p178). From the description, we can infer that SCA is a very similar concept to what is often called social media. Many initiatives exist that try to get people to know each other and do things together at the local level, but the number of digital systems that aim for this is limited. Even fewer are the systems that try to support selforganization. Heylighen et al (in presss) introduces the concept of the "mobilization system", which can be defined as: "a socio-technological system that motivates and coordinates people to work towards a given objective" (Heylighen et al in press, p2). In this definition, the elements of coordination and motivation are important. Heylighen (2012) mentions amongst others gamification as an approach to create mobilization systems. From a societal point of view, such a system should act under the principle of libertarian paternalism, inciting people to do what is good for the collective, without law enforcement The focus of this paper is on how to support local self-organization in urban neighborhoods through a SCA mobilization system that uses gamification. To achieve this, two main objectives were put forward. Firstly, people should get to know each other. This is what we refer to as consolidating social capital. Secondly, this social capital should be made to act as the basis on which action can be undertaken. This is what we mean when we refer to the activation of social capital. Combining the above, the paper addresses the following central research question: "How can both the activation and the consolidation of social capital be achieved through the coordination and motivation elements that are typically found in mobilization systems built as social computing applications, in order to stimulate self-organization in urban neighborhoods?"
Book: Using ICT, Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Foster Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance, Proceedings
Number of pages: 16
Publication year:2013
Keywords:internet-of-things, gamification, gameful design, smart cities
  • ORCID: /0000-0003-3165-1247/work/86240740