5637Re: [carfree_cities] article on computer simulation
- Mar 9 5:30 AMHi All,
This is fascinating. It's a project I've wanted to do for years,
and here somebody has gone and done it!
Alas, when I went to the web site, I couldn't find a working link
to the game; I found the link, but it's not clickable. I've got my
security setting very high. Has anyone been able to make this work?
Thanks & regards,
>An interesting article from the January / February 2003 Issue of Utne----------------------------------------------------------------------
>magazine on a computer program for simulation of urban environments.
>Play games, build a future
>By Leif Utne , Utne magazine
>January / February 2003 Issue
>What happens when people with different political beliefs are given
>the chance to shape the future of their communities with a click of a
>mouse? The answer, surprisingly, is that they seek the same things.
>They may cheer different candidates in life, but put them in front of
>a computer simulation and virtually everyone designs a scenario that
>spares their hometowns from pollution, sprawl, and crime.
>Sustainability, says Dave Biggs, is what people choose when they
>understand the consequences of their choices.
>Biggs, a systems manager at the University of British Columbias
>Sustainable Development Research Institute, helps people of different
>philosophical backgrounds forge a common future with an innovative
>Web-based game called QUEST, which lets tens of thousands of users
>model and reshape the future of the towns where they live. In the
>process, writes James Hrynyshyn in New Scientist (July 27, 2002), they
>may be changing the future of urban planning and democratic decision
>In the early 90s, Biggs and his research partner Jim Robinson faced a
>formidable challenge. They knew that if their hometown of Vancouver
>didnt start making some hard choices, environmental problems like
>smog, sprawl, and water pollution would soon do irreparable harm to
>the quality of life in the region. They had the data and the models
>to prove it. The problem was how to sell the idea to politicians and
>the public in a way that got people thinking long-term and then acting
>Then they discovered SimCity, the popular computer game that turns
>players into urban planners of fictitious cities, advising them: As
>long as your city can provide places for people to live, work, shop,
>and play, it will attract residents. And as long as traffic,
>pollution, overcrowding, crime, or taxes dont drive them away, your
>city will live. Following that advice, Robinson and Biggs set about
>creating a game that would allow players to do the same for real
>The first working model of QUEST is based on the Georgia Basin, the
>region surrounding Vancouver. Since its launch in late 2000, writes
>Hrynyshyn, more than 30,000 people have played the game on the Web
>The game lets users tweak dozens of variables, from land use zoning,
>and tax codes to air and water quality, transportation, and health
>care spending, then calculates what Vancouver will look like in 2040
>based on those choices. Using a process they call backcasting, the
>game lets the player go back and change their choices over and over
>until they reach a future they want. Once they settle on a scenario
>they like, QUEST records the model and passes it on to government
>One of the most interesting results of this process, says Biggs, is
>that the game cuts through the traditional ideological lines that make
>it so difficult to advance sustainable policies. Conservative players
>realize the value of pristine forests and clean air, just as most
>environmentalists acknowledge the importance of public safety and
>economic development. Invariably, he notes, when players can see the
>effects of their choices, they opt for a far greener future than
>anyone would consider politically possible.
>Several U.S. cities are interested in creating their own versions of
>the game, and QUEST has drawn international attention, too. The World
>Bank recently funded a project in Mexico City, and officials in such
>far-flung places as Bangalore, India, Curitiba, Brazil, Romania, and
>Bali are using the game to involve citizens in their planning
>The resort town of Whistler, British Columbia, is taking it a step
>further, using QUEST in a series of townhall meetings to let residents
>craft the communitys long-range growth plan. If things go as planned,
>the city council could adopt the publics recommendations as law.
>The only drawback to this kind of direct democracy, Hrynyshyn wryly
>points out, is that when we are all town planners, we will have
>nobody to blame but ourselves when the buses dont run on time.
>715 ouest, boul. Jacques-Cartier
>+1 514 995-0185 (mobile)
>+1 514 987-3000 x 2361# (office/bureau, Montréal)
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J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
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