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Gamification and Sustainable Solutions in 2023: Addressing the Environmental Impact of Urbanization

April 4, 2023

Introduction: Environmental Challenges of Urbanization

Urbanization has brought about significant environmental challenges, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity. According to the United Nations (UN, 2018), more than half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and by 2030 the number is projected to rise over 60%. Therefore, it is essential to address the environmental impact of urbanization and develop sustainable solutions.

The Impact of Urbanization on Air Pollution, Global Warming and Climate Change

Reports and research have highlighted the environmental impact of urbanization. According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2018), urban air pollution is responsible for seven million premature deaths every year, with cities being the main contributors. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2014) has also highlighted the contribution of urban areas to greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for global warming and climate change.

Promoting Green Mobility to Reduce Carbon Footprint

To make cities more sustainable, it is essential to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt green mobility solutions. According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2019), urban transportation is responsible for almost a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions, and urban areas are the primary contributors. The report highlights the need to promote electric vehicles, public transportation, and non-motorized transport modes like cycling and walking.

Gamification for Green Mobility

Gamification is one of the innovative solutions that can encourage people to adopt sustainable behaviors. According to research by Werbach and Hunter (2012), gamification can lead to more significant engagement and motivation than traditional approaches to behavior change. Furthermore, research by Tost et al. (2019) has found that gamification can improve household recycling behavior.

The city of Differdange, Luxembourg has developed an innovative solution to promote green mobility through gamification. The “MobiDiff” game, which was launched in 2022, encourages city hall employees to use public transport, bicycles, or walk to get around the city. The game is developed on the Morfin.io platform and deployed on the free “More” app.

Players earn tokens for every trip they make to work using these sustainable modes of transport, and they can exchange their tokens for prizes or discounts at local shops and restaurants. The app detects the mode of transportation used by employees, whether it’s walking, running, or cycling, using geolocation and a gyroscope. With the help of beacons (hardware) integrated into all 190 Differdange buses, the app can even distinguish between bus commutes and other modes of transport.

To keep users engaged and motivated, the platform allows for an infinite number of plugins in the form of individual and group challenges and mini-games based on mobility data of the users. Products and shops on the platform can also be added or removed to keep the game fresh and exciting and overcome user fatigue or boredom with the same gameplay.

The benefits of the “MobiDiff” game implementation are numerous. In addition to reducing the carbon footprint and educating employees on the importance of green mobility, the game also promotes physical and mental health. By encouraging the use of public transport, bicycles, and walking, employees get to improve their fitness levels, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.

Moreover, the game promotes teamwork and communication among city hall employees as they work towards common goals and compete in individual and group challenges. The sense of competition and collaboration fosters a sense of community and team spirit among employees.

Furthermore, by accepting an open ecosystem of local shops that can self-onboard and offer products and services for the participant to the green mobility program, Differdange is supporting local businesses and reducing the carbon emissions associated with goods transported from afar. By promoting local commerce, the city is helping to create a more sustainable and resilient local economy.

Reducing Fossil Fuel Consumption with Renewable Energy Sources

To make cities more sustainable, it is also essential to promote renewable energy sources and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. According to research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA, 2017), renewable energy in cities can provide up to 90% of the electricity generation in cities by 2050. Furthermore, research by the United Nations (UN, 2017) has found that investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures can create new jobs and stimulate economic growth. We do find multiple ways of integrating gamifications to help with these matters.

Conclusion: Creating Livable Places for People and the Planet

In conclusion, urbanization has brought about significant environmental challenges, but reports and research have highlighted the potential of sustainable solutions like green mobility, urban air pollution reduction, household recycling, and renewable energy in cities. By promoting gamification of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient technologies, and sustainable behaviors, cities can reduce their carbon footprint and become more livable places for people and the planet.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2014). Climate change 2014: Mitigation of climate change. Retrieved from https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/

Werbach, K., & Hunter, D. (2012). For the win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Philadelphia: Wharton Digital Press.

United Nations. (2018). 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html

World Health Organization. (2018). Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ambient-(outdoor)-air-quality-and-health

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