Urban gamification during lockdown and social isolation -from the teddy bear challenge to window expeditions

Mattia Thibault, Manuel F. Baer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

19 Downloads (Pure)


The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that affected many cities around the world during the spring and summer 2020 was often met with regulations requiring people to lockdown, to quarantine or to respect social distancing. Urban spaces often became off-limits and depopulated, filled with borders isolating people confined at home. Nevertheless, in these trying times new forms of urban gamification surfaced, allowing citizens to engage their surroundings playfully, to connect with others and to escape these dire situations. In this paper, we propose an overview of the many playful activities that emerged in the cities hit by the pandemic, organised according to the urban borders they engage (windows, balconies, rooftops). We then focus on how several borders can be engaged by the same play practice, through a gamified application called Window Expeditions, which aims at participatory data generation, while addressing some of the issues related to isolation and reduced mobility of its users. In the conclusions, we discuss the potential role of urban gamification during the pandemic and, in particular, its ability to comfort, connect, increase curiosity and encourage exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th International GamiFIN Conference Levi, Finland, April 7-9, 2021
EditorsMila Bujić, Jonna Koivisto, Juho Hamari
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event5th International GamiFIN Conference, GamiFIN 2021 - Virtual, Levi, Finland
Duration: 7 Apr 20219 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameCEUR Workshop Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1613-0073


Conference5th International GamiFIN Conference, GamiFIN 2021
CityVirtual, Levi


  • Borders
  • COVID-19
  • Liminal Spaces
  • Urban Gamification

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Urban gamification during lockdown and social isolation -from the teddy bear challenge to window expeditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this