- Play and Performance in Civic Space
- Reframing Learning and Mobile
- Play and real-world social change
With roots in the sociological theory of the Tragedy of the Commons (Garrett Hardin, 1968) Commons is a mobile location-aware civic engagement game for urban communities that merges traditional citizen reporting tools with gamification components. From the designers’ website: “In Commons, compete to do good, while problems in your city get fixed. Report a problem or recommend an improvement in your neighborhood that you think deserves attention and resources, and show your city some lovin’.”
This game-event takes place over 2 hours and consists of several components. Once the player has downloaded the Commons game from the Apple iTunes store and used it to register via Facebook, they can begin playing (either individually or in groups). Players explore the game's physical boundaries (in the case of the game's kick-off on June 19th 2011, lower Manhattan in NYC) in order to submit "City Tasks." From the designers' website:
Which is to say 1) report a problem in the neighborhood, or 2) recommend an improvement in the neighborhood, or 3) show appreciation about something in the neighborhood. Each “City Task” consists of a text description (maximum 140 characters), including the street intersection or geo-tag where the issue exists, and a photo. When a player submits a City Task, he/she earns experience points for each submission.
The "City Tasks" are then sorted into a series of "Missions" that players can pick and choose from. The difficulty of the mission as well as its distance from the game's home base (Foley Square) determines the amount of bonus points a player earns. Additionally, there is public voting on the "City Tasks," which also contributes to the overall point structure, the community-building, and the archive of civic-centric tasks relevant to a specific real world location.
Interview with Commons lead designer Suzanne Kirkpatrick
Game OverviewA game for urban communities to improve their city through citizen stewardship
Game DeveloperSuzanne Kirkpatrick, Nien Lam, Jamie Lin
Game Link[External site]
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