I did it again: I just forgot this blog for months while the many things of academic life overflew me like a high tide of paperwork. But I am here, now and - as every terrible ex has said at least once - this time will be different!
Jokes aside, one of the reasons I neglected this blog for a while is that I just started a new, exciting, project: an EU-funded postdoc called ReCliam (check here the Facebook Page).
It is a Marie Sklodowska Curie Action Individual Fellowship, an EU mobility program, which translates in a quite amazing thing career-wise (and also quite unexpected, tbo!) and it means that I had the occasion to move in a new, great (and brand new) university: Tampere University in Finland!
The Uni is rather cool and the best thing is that I get to work with the Gamification Group, which is a very young, diverse, multidisciplinary and provocative research environment (really, check them out!).
For the next couple of years, then, I'll be working on the activities that use playfulness and games to resemantise urban spaces. Quoting from the project abstract:
Nowadays, the idea that cities should not just be smart, but also playable is gaining more and more recognition. In addition to bottom-up, spontaneous activities of playful use of urban spaces (such as parkour, flash-mobs and zombie walks) and to urban games (the most famous being AR location-based mobile game Pokémon Go), pro-social activities such as those organised by Playable City at the Watershed of Bristol try to channel the power of city play and use it to promote more inclusive communities and a sense of city-ownership.
The citizens' reaction to moments of urban playfulness is often the same: a simple, almost childish, joy at seeing the anonymity of modern cities being invaded by coloured, fun and light-hearted activities. Urban gamification, then, could be an effective strategy for helping those citizens that feel increasingly powerless and disconnected from their own cities in face of the changes brought by globalisation and by the ICT revolution: “Cities that play together stay together”.
ReClaim aims at studying urban play in the wider frame of gamification, in order to deepen our understanding on how we can use play to affect the urban spaces and on what effects this might have on the citizens and their practices. The project draws from the knowledge and methodologies of gamification, critical design and pervasive play and aims at building an innovative and usable methodology. The latter will be tested through the analysis of case studies and through empirical testing, thus ensuring the building of a framework for the study and implementation of actions of urban gamification. At the end of the project, ReClaim will offer to designers, gamifiers and researchers a concrete and methodologically sound framework on how to use playfulness to make cities more liveable and inclusive.
So stay tuned for more on ReClaim in the coming weeks!