Game.UP – Gamification as a Communication Tool in Urban Planning


As an interdisciplinary research project, Game.UP consolidates research on gamification, human-computer interaction, and urban planning public participation to identify where and how gamification can be implemented to address participation issues. The project focuses on analyzing the current state of gamification research, highlighting the challenges and potentials of gamification in urban planning, identifying successful application means and methods of gamification and gameful-design in planning participation, and determining success indicators.



  • Analyze gamification state of the art in urban planning and in general
  • Identify methods, challenges, and potentials of gamification and gameful-design in urban planning public participation
  • Identify gamification implementation scenarios
  • Prototype implementation and evaluation of gamification in public participation within a case study


Project Description

The nature of urban planning problems requires collaboration and communication between many different stakeholders, including members of the public who may be affected by planning processes or a planning solution. This is relevant in democratic societies to fulfill fundamental democratic rights in accessing information and participation, thus legitimizing planning processes and, from a technical perspective, to integrate local knowledge and future users into the change process.

Digital participation tools and eParticipation processes have helped to make public participation in planning more efficient and accessible. The digitalization of public participation helps reach a larger audience, meaning more people can participate; decouples participation instances from location and time constraints, meaning people can participate when and where they wish; and helps us find and discuss with like-minded people. Mobile technologies enable the access of data and information on-location and provide novel means of inputting data. Mixed-reality allows us to overlay the physical world with digital information. However, despite this, research shows that new technologies are not enough to improve public participation in planning. Studies indicate that planning participation, whether physical or digital, suffers from a lack of participants and low user experience. Improving efficiency alone does not improve participation. Gamification can be utilized to address these issues of motivation and enhance user interaction. The aim of the Game.UP research project was to analyze gamification state of the art, highlight relevant methods, challenges, and potentials, and identify how gamification can be used effectively within participation processes in an urban planning context.

The topic was approached from a user-centered perspective. The collaborating chairs unite expertise on the systemic processes shaping our cities and the non-linear requirements from the field of human-computer interaction. The research comprises three phases; 1) a theoretical examination of gamification and gameful-design within urban planning and, in general, supplemented through interviews with key stakeholders. This resulted in 2) the identification of gamification methods, challenges, and potentials within an urban planning participation context, as well as the development of primary areas of interest (AOIs). Finally, 3) these findings were consolidated and evaluated within a case study, where a prototype was developed within the context of a real-world planning intervention and in consultation with the project initiator. The prototype was assessed on-location in user tests with random members of the public to empirically examine how gamification impacted users’ perception of participation and their retention of information. Throughout the research project, different game elements, gameful-design concepts, and participation levels and tasks were explored within an academic environment.



We aim to publish detailed results in 2021, the reference will be made available here, upon successful publication.

  • Jenney, Sarah L.; Jung, Hans; Seif, Heiko; Petzold, Frank: Gamification as a Means to Improve Stakeholder Management in Urban Planning Participation. In: Koehler, Thomas; Schoop, Eric; Kahnwald, Nina (Ed.): Communities in New Media. From hybrid realities to hybrid communities.. TUDPress, 2020, 90--98 more…
  • Jenney, Sarah Louise; Petzold, Frank: Question of Perspective: Information Visualisation in Games and its Possible Application in Planning Communication. Future Trajectories of Computation in Design – Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures, 2017 more…

  1. Lukas Kellerer, “The Examination of Quests as a Gamification Element in Planning”, LMU Media Informatics, Bachelor Thesis 2018.
  2. Markus Kerschbaumer, “Analysing Cooperation in Gamification Applications and Applying it to the Communication between Architects and Engineers”, LMU Media Informatics, Bachelor Thesis 2018.
  3. Christina Risinger, “Gamification in Participation Processes for Public Planning Projects”, TUM Architecture, Bachelor Thesis 2018.
  4. Maximilian Henneberg, “Augmented Reality Audio: The social acceptance of large scale building projects in urban areas with a special focus on the spatial noise pollution”, SS2018.
  5. Lukas Legner, “Psychological Mechanics in Mobile Games and the Shift to Mobile VR”, WS2018.
  6. Marlo Nickol, “Exploration of Guidelines to Gather Opinion Data from Games within an Urban Planning Context”, WS2018.
  7. Alexander Vahid, “The Examination of Levels as a Gamification Element in Planning”, LMU Media Informatics, Bachelor Thesis 2018.
  8. Leonhard Mertl, “The Potentials of Feedback as a Game Element in Urban Planning Participation”, LMU Media Informatics, Master Thesis 2019.
  9. Raluca Muntean, “An Examination of the Gamification Element’ Resource Acquisition’”, LMU Media Informatics, Bachelor Thesis 2019.
  10. Amir Tavana, “The Gamification Element ‘Gifting’ as a Potential Positive Incentive in Public Participation”, LMU Informatics, Bachelor Thesis 2019.
  11. Anna Christin Wagner, “What Urban Planners can Learn from Game Engineers: Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games Applied to Urban Planning Scenarios”, SS2019.
  12. Marco Plewnia, “Engagement in Urban Planning through matching Game Elements and Playertypes”, SS2019.
  13. Fabian Thomas-Barein, “Privacy vs. Persuasion: Context-aware Notifications for Urban Planning Projects”, WS2019.
  14. Marla Narazani, “Game.UP – Tangible Urban Models”, TUM Informatics, IDP 2019.
  15. Jinming Gu, “Parallel City: An Interactive, Gamified Platform for Urban Exploration”, TUM Architecture, Master Thesis 2020.
  16. Tobias Mühlhaus, “Haptic Interaction for Citizen Participation in Urban Development”, TUM Ergonomics – Human Factors Engineering, Master Thesis 2020.
  17. Sihan Jennifer Zhao, “Contextual HBI: Presenting a Framework for Human Building Interaction Exploration”, SS2020.
  18. Andi Turdiu, “Game.UP – Georeferenced 3D Map Visualisation”, TUM Informatics, IDP 2020.
  19. Dominik Spörle, “Game.UP – Interaction design in a public participation application”, TUM Informatics, IDP 2020.
  20. Dominik Spörle, “A Digital Platform to Improve Planner Engagement and Content Management in Urban Planning Participation”, TUM Informatics, Master Thesis 2021.