Enhancing Citizen Participation through Serious Games in Virtual Reality

West, Mirjam and Yildirim, Onur and Harte, Aislinn E. and Ramram, Adam and Fleury, Nicholas W. and Carabias-Hütter, Vicente (2019) Enhancing Citizen Participation through Serious Games in Virtual Reality. IS THIS THE REAL WORLD? Perfect Smart Cities vs. Real Emotional Cities. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2019, 24th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 881-888. ISSN 2521-3938

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Recently, an increasing number of cities are in the process of developing new strategies and concepts to become Smart Cities. Participatory approaches that include all stakeholders are essential for urban developments to be smart and widely accepted. Nevertheless, only a few cities have linked their citizen participation with city planning. This is where this innovative Virtual Reality (VR) project comes in.Technological progress in VR now enables people to be virtually integrated into an emerging future. Incombination with gamification methods, educational tools with long term impacts can be created. As of yet, gamification in a non-VR environment has been successfully applied in different projects. This project aims to unlock the untapped potential and examines how a serious game in a high-end VR environment can increase citizen participation in a Smart City. To create the VR application, a user-centered design method was applied. In a first step, a prototype, the serious game “Virtual Energy Hero”, was developed, which addresses energy and sustainability topics. The game was very well received by more than 90% of approximately 250 players (by the end of 2018). The storyline of the game, as well as its game mechanics to enhance interactivity and immersion, are the main areas for improvement, as identified through interviews, a literature review, tests and surveys. Theselearnings were considered when designing the second game "Virtual Smart City Hero". By creating virtual scenarios of the Smart City Winterthur, based on the city’s 3D model, people are offered the opportunity to dive into the topic and interact with current and future Smart City elements. Through interactive mini-games, the players are given an immersive experience. The “Virtual Smart City Hero” is currently under development and still in the design phase. It is planned that after playing the game, the players are encouraged to join a web based innovation platform. There, they can conceptualize and discuss new ideas and participate in bottom-up initiatives. The platform will promote collaborations between different actors - citizens, administrations, research institutes and the private sector. Impact assessments will be made and it will be analyzed how the platform has to be designed for citizens to become active Smart Citizens.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: co-creation, serious game, virtual reality, storytelling, participation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2021 15:23
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2021 15:23
URI: http://repository.corp.at/id/eprint/580

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