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Wednesday, February 20, 2013


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Perhaps Roses findings are valid in this case, yet my students found the tool to be "good enough" in the company of readings about urban development, way back in 1992 with Sim City 2000. Five of their six cities failed for typically real-life reasons; there were no alien attacks involved.

The most hilarious case was a nearly bankrupt city that floated bonds for a big-budget sports stadium, only to see it flop.

I hope those tweaking Sim City are reading studies of America's failure with suburbia, notably James Howard Kunstler's The Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere.

Kunstler and The New Urbanists with whom he is often associated propose a model that will get us past the decline of malls and big-box shopping, as we order more online and move into denser and walkable communities.

Arcadia Codesmith

All models are simplifications, by definition. If it's not simplified, it's no longer a model; it's the real thing.

As a mass-market game, the SimCity series isn't at the same level as high-end urban planning simulations, but out of the box it really isn't half bad, and it HAS been used to train real-world urban planners.

I'm not saying your caveats aren't valid, but don't short-sell this or any other virtual world "game" as a legitimate tool for simulating and understanding real world issues. The approach has its limits, but it also has its uses.

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