Patrik von Berlepsch
3 March, 2022
Article for PropTech Sweden
Gamification- the pathway to sustainable housing communities
Gamification elements are increasingly incorporated in new technology as they can be utilized as tools for influencing users' behaviors. Local Minds, a Swedish startup, uses gamification to engage local residents to create smarter housing communities, a concept in which both large Swedish housing companies and local housing cooperatives have shown interest.
In Sweden, two-thirds of residents have never participated in their local housing community and a majority of housing communities do not work actively with sustainability. There is an urgent need for change to achieve happier and more sustainable neighborhoods, something made possible only through increased local engagement. With the help of gamification methodologies and technology, Local Minds seeks to make it more simple, valuable, and fun for residents to engage with their local community.
Gamification is a way of encouraging people to engage in game-like activities in a non-gaming setting. Thus, elements of game design can be used to motivate behaviors in a variety of contexts. Rather than turning activities themselves into games, gamification uses game-like features to develop qualities that attract individuals to become engaged in desired behaviors, including as a way to motivate users to increase their sustainability-related habits.This is done through simplifying desired behaviors as well as providing praise and feedback, a strategy proven to attract and retain more users. Game-like features, such as competition, leaderboards, and rewards, complement intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to drive audiences to engage in the desired behavior- such as solving problems together locally.
How does Local Minds use Gamification?
Local Minds creates new ways for people to interact with their closest surroundings and for community administrators to interact with their residents. In the app, both residents and community administrators can interact through different sets of activities. Residents earn points for every activity in which they participate, which can then be used to unlock redeemable rewards. By implementing unique ways to measure and understand the local environment, Local Minds facilitates improvements to the community's social and ecological sustainability. In doing so, the tool helps housing companies save money by letting residents solve simple tasks that would otherwise require outsourcing.
Does gamification contribute to sustainability?
Sustainability is crucial for economic development, social stability, and living standards. Though most people may care about sustainability, the concept can be abstract for many. Psychological studies show that people value short-term benefits over long-term benefits. This creates a gap between attitude and behavior in which people care about the environment but do not successfully apply changes to their behavior. When choices do not match values, it becomes evident that larger issues such as climate change are more challenging to tackle on a societal basis.The use of gamification to award the adaption of such behaviors is a proven strategy to reduce the barriers to the desired change while also reaching a broader audience.
Positive impact on tenants experience
Developing an emotional connection to where one lives comes from positive interactions in the living environment. Tools that improve engagement among residents therefore directly impact the tenant experience and sense of security. With the risk of residents experiencing loneliness and isolation being increasingly high over the past two years as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, gamified tools are a way to restore the living environment to be a thriving community rather than just a place in which to reside. Therefore, ensuring that residents develop positive emotional connection to their community is one way for housing companies to achieve long-term success in attaining and retaining tenants.
Learn more about the Local Minds engagement tool here.