Betaville is a multi-person open source platform which allows participants to build on empty spaces in New York City, like a real-life version of the popular game Sim City.
As one person designs a building on a spot, others can not only see the proposal but can also modify it. And this isn't just a fantasy world of wacky ideas; Betaville's developers are hoping to turn these designs into real buildings in the city. One might assume that many architects would not want the general public encroaching on their area of expertise, but many support Betaville and believe that it can also help professionals to do their job more effectively. Jee Won Kim is an architect in New York specialising in the hospitality industry and residential spaces. He says that any project that affects the public requires their approval. Betaville gives people a chance to see these proposals in their given context and to better understand how new buildings can fit into their communities. "With enough renderings you can explain it," Mr Kim says, referring to meetings where architects show the public their proposals. "But it's not quite the same as people being able to walk around it, fly over it and look at it themselves."
"It's a great way to test your ideas," he says. "The more that we can engage the public and get their support, the better chances we'll have to get the project built."By Nastaran Tavakoli-Far
BBC World Service