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August 07, 2005

Sim Civics

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Public Participation in Regional Planning

Sim Civics by Jeff MacIntyre, The Boston Globe, August 7, 2005: New game-like computer software is empowering ordinary citizens to help design better cities. Can the professionals and the public learn to play well together?

[Image: SIM ISLAND--This 3-D image of Honolulu was created using GIS software from the company ERSI, as part of Honolulu's six-year planning initiative. (Courtesy of ESRI/City of Honolulu).]

"FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, the future of urban planning arrived in the form of a wonkish but strangely addictive new computer game. In SimCity, a player assumed the twin roles of mayor and city planner, creating elaborate cityscapes, managing zoning, transportation, and growth, while fighting off poverty, crime, traffic, and pollution..."SimCity...has probably introduced more people to urban planning than any book ever has."...Today, a new generation of GIS applications, known as ''scenario planning" or ''decision support" tools--which allow users to visualize, project, and manipulate a wealth of environmental data--have made citizens into major players in the gaming of urban futures. Across the United States...these tools are enabling an unprecedented level of public participation in broad regional planning initiatives..."

Posted by jo at August 7, 2005 09:26 AM

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