Social action gaming

Here’s a nice little sustainability initiative from Switzerland, which turns the art of waste disposal into a series of urban games.

In a bid to discourage littering in the city of Lucerne – as part of its ongoing ‘Lucerne Shines’ program, aimed at reducing the 4.5 million francs it costs to deal with clearing up badly disposed of rubbish - a number of trash cans have been converted into mini gaming experiences, ranging from mazes through to hopscotch and basketball.

The games are created through the use of carefully applied decal stickers, in a signature yellow, which build upon the unspoken games people often play in offices when attempting to throw scrunched up paper into the bin from a distance.

These low-key urban games highlight an innovative and cost effective way of promoting proper litter disposal without resorting to an overtly complicated or expensive campaign.

This is ‘social action gaming’ and the theory used here – turning the mundane into a mini gaming experience – is something that could easily be extended to other public services.

With numerous London councils buckling under the weight of their waste disposal commitments, is there a way to turn recycling into something that feels more like play than a chore, perhaps with some form of added incentive to give it that all-important competitive edge?

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