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Towards a Framework for Designing and Assessing Game-Based Approaches for Sustainable Water Governance

Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Überlandstrasse 133, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
Department of Bioresource Engineering, McGill University, 21 111 Lakeshore, Ste Anne de Bellevue, QC H9X3V9, Canada
Department of Social Sciences, Education and Learning Sciences, Wageningen University, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 869;
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
PDF [1661 KB, uploaded 25 April 2019]


Most of the literature on serious games and gamification calls for a shift from evaluating practices to using theories to assess them. While the former is necessary to justify using game-based approaches, the latter enables understanding “why” game-based approaches are beneficial (or not). Based on earlier review papers and the papers in this special issue of Water entitled “Understanding game-based approaches for improving sustainable water governance: the potential of serious games to solve water problems”, we show that game-based approaches in a water governance context are relatively diverse. In particular, the expected aims, targeted audience, and spatial and temporal scales are factors that differentiate game-based approaches. These factors also strongly influence the design of game-based approaches and the research developed to assess them. We developed a framework to guide and reflect on the design and assessment of game-based approaches, and we suggest opportunities for future research. In particular, we highlight the lack of game-based approaches that can support “society-driven” sustainable water governance. View Full-Text
Keywords: gamification; serious games; water governance; stakeholder participation; sustainability gamification; serious games; water governance; stakeholder participation; sustainability

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Aubert, A.H.; Medema, W.; Wals, A.E.J. Towards a Framework for Designing and Assessing Game-Based Approaches for Sustainable Water Governance. Water 2019, 11, 869.

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