Monday, 3 September 2012

The Real Sim City. Oh God, it's starting to happpen...

The legendary computer game Sim City has been used as the basis for a new programme which is being used to project what the world's cities will look like in the future.
MetroQuest, a piece of software put together by Canadian developers Envision, allows the users to input the decisions that are being made by city planners and see how these areas will change over the next 40 years. They can also manipulate various factors and explore "what if" future scenarios for their community.
The software works by allowing the user to alter certain aspects of their city, such as poplulation location, urban density, and transport - much as the original game did. Users can then see the effect of their decisions 40 years down the line, both on a satellite-view map and in a graphical display. One of the places to put it to practical use has been Manchester, in the north of England. Metro Quest worked in partnership with Manchester University's Urban Planning Department to study the whole of the north-west, looking at alternative scenarios for the region.

  • Population location
  • Job location
  • Housing density
  • Roads v transit
  • Transport policy
  • Energy and air quality
  • Water conservation
  • Reduce and recycle
  • Population and economy
However, a demonstration of the tool at the World Urban Forum showed one of the limitations of the tool, which is that, unlike in the real world - and, indeed, unlike in Sim City - money is unlimited.
By Ben Sutherland
BBC News, Vancouver

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