According to a WHO report, physical inactivity as a leading cause of urban deaths is responsible for 3.2 million deaths annually, whereas other factors such as air pollution, traffic injuries, and violence, cause 1.3, 1.3, and 1.6 million deaths sequentially. On the other hand, modern lifestyle encourages sedentary behaviors* due to increased use of motorized transportation (cars instead of walking or cycling), sedentary work (with computers), and inactive leisures (like watching TV and playing computer games). In the case of Tehran, almost 40% of adults do not meet the recommended level of physical activity (150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week).
Researchers and designers at Urban Health Studio tried to propose solutions to activate urban spaces by means of gamification, so that the citizens get motivated to step into the public spaces and increase their physical activity.
As an outcome of the studio, WalkyFun project concentrated on capitalizing on existing urban resources, and shaping an urban game experience. Therefore, a 1:1 scale snake & ladders game was designed with the idea of considering the iconic urban stairs that famously connect various areas in the Tavanir neighbourhood as the ladders and snakes.
The urban demo of the game was conducted with around 100 players on July 18th and 19th, 2019. The game route was subject to soft and ephemeral urban interventions with signs and guides. The starting point was a local cafe, and the winners could enjoy free drinks at another cafe that was located in the final location.
WalkyFun, as an entertaining urban adventure, examined the potential of gamification as a driver for enhancing physical activity of the citizens. The project is under further development in collaboration with the Department of Public Health at the Municipality of Tehran, to get scales in 10 neighborhoods in the city in 2021.
Studio Advisors : Tarlan Khoylou . Mahdi Najafi
Research & Design Team : Moujan Mahdian . Negar Sameei
Special Thanks to : Setareh Kian . Amirreza Mohabbat . Peeyade
* Sedentary behaviors: activities that do not increase energy expenditure substantially above the resting level. It includes activities such as sitting, watching TV, and other forms of screen based entertainment.