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Aim and Challenges

The High Impact Initiative Smart Cities and Communities and the Distributed Adaptive Systems Unit carry out joint research and technology development on purposeful and motivational game design and development

Our mission is to explore the potential of games in mobilizing communities of citizens to tackle real world sustainability challenges.

In recent years, gamification has been successfully applied to increase citizens engagement and promoting positive behavioral changes in Smart City initiatives. However, using gamification as a persuasive technology in a Smart City is profoundly different, and way more challenging, than applying it to a single, well-known and self-contained information system or application.

Smart Cities are complex, dynamic and open-bounded socio-technical systems and the challenges that a gamification solution needs to face are the following:

  • A game action is potentially any action that a citizen performs in the real world. The gamification solution needs to support the integration of a great diversity of services, providers, and technological affordances;
  • Game objectives are dynamic and require the collaboration of different stakeholders. Game logic needs to dynamically adapt to meet the new game objectives;
  • Behavioral change needs to be sustained over time. There is the need  to support for long-running games and appeal also late-comers. 


The areas of research investigation include:

  • Game design;
  • Procedural content generation;
  • Player type models and personalized game content;
  • Developing applied motivational games to demonstrate and conduct research.

In collaboration with the Smart Community HII, we are developing a Gamification Framework for Smart Cities that:

  1. Covers the entire game lifecycle, supporting the design, deployment, execution and analysis of games;
  2. Enables an open-ended integration of services and is extensible both in terms of game concepts and of provided functionalities;
  3. Supports for dynamic objectives and personalized playable units tailored to the player’s profile.

The architecture of the Gamification Framework is organized in three main layers: Gamification Enablers, Gamification Services and Gamification Front-end.

Smart City Gamification Framework

The Gamification Enablers support for the basic functionality related to the design, deployment (the Game Definition component), and execution (the Gamification Engine component) of games, and its integration with Smart Cities ICT systems; it also supports advanced functionalities for the automatic generation of challenges (the Challenge Generator component), which are personalized playable units that are synthesized taking into account a player’s profile, game state and game history (i.e. game results and actions, respectively).

The Gamification Services expose the functionality implemented by the enablers as services, which can be easily used to build new gamification components and applications that exploit the core components of the framework (e.g., services supporting the definition and deployment of games, services for accessing information about the game and player state, services supporting the configuration of notifications for communicating game results to the players).

The Gamification Front-end layer contains end-user applications for the three stakeholders. In particular, it provides applications supporting the definition and deployment of games (for game experts), the presentation of game state (for smart citizens), and the analysis of game results and impact vis-a-vis to the city objectives (for officials and decision makers).

Applications and results


Long-running open-field game promoting sustainable mobility.

Seeptember 2017 - March 2018, Trento and Rovereto - Italy

September - December 2016, Trento - Italy

April - June 2016, Rovereto - Italy



Kids Go Green

Game targeting the whole school community (children, teachers, families) and promoting a collective change towards more sustainable home-school transport habits.

2016 - 2018, 9 schools in Trento area - Italy


Zone Hunter Game

Mar – Apr 2016, Tampere - Finland

eMobility Street Game

Sep 2016, Tocatì International Festival, Verona - Italy



The Gamification Framework is a joint project with the Smart Community HII (FBK).

In collaboration with Comune di Trento, Comune di Rovereto, STREETLIFE EU Project, and SMALL EIT Digital Activity.