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Re: [carfree_cities] article on computer simulation

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Hi 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
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 9, 2003
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      Hi 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.
      >
      >The URL:
      >
      >http://www.utne.com/pub/2003_115/promo/10224-1.html
      >
      >The article:
      >
      >Utopia 2.0
      >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 Columbia’s
      >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
      >making.
      >
      >In the early ’90s, Biggs and his research partner Jim Robinson faced a
      >formidable challenge. They knew that if their hometown of Vancouver
      >didn’t 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
      >on it.
      >
      >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 don’t 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
      >cities.
      >
      >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
      >(www.basinfutures.net).
      >
      >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
      >officials.
      >
      >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
      >processes.
      >
      >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 community’s long-range growth plan. If things go as planned,
      >the city council could adopt the public’s 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 don’t run on time.”
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >Chris Miller
      >
      >==================================================
      >Christopher Miller
      >715 ouest, boul. Jacques-Cartier
      >Longueuil QC
      >J4L 2S2
      >Canada
      >
      >+1 514 995-0185 (mobile)
      >+1 514 987-3000 x 2361# (office/bureau, Montréal)
      >
      >christophermiller@...
      >miller.christopher@...
      >==================================================
      >
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
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      >
      >

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

      Drop Bush
      Not Bombs

      -- ### --

      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
    • Christopher Miller
      Hi, I took a look at the site for the Institute described in this portion ... The address is: http://www.sdri.ubc.ca/about_sdri/index.cfm There s quite a bit
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 10, 2003
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        Hi,

        I took a look at the site for the Institute described in this portion
        of the article:

        >> “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 Columbia’s
        >> 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
        >> making.

        The address is:

        http://www.sdri.ubc.ca/about_sdri/index.cfm

        There's quite a bit of info here about what they are doing, and links
        to the Institute's numerous members, however I can't locate the Dave
        Biggs mentioned in the article. Here is a press release from 1996 about
        the game, when Dave Biggs was a grad student. The address:

        http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/media/releases/1996/mr-96-78.html

        The press release:

        QUEST peers into Vancouver's future
        What will Vancouver and the Fraser Valley be like in the year 2030?
        The answer is in your hands when you play QUEST, a computer game aimed
        at making complex urban planning issues accessible to the average
        citizen. The game, developed by master's student David Biggs and
        colleagues at the Sustainable Development Research Institute (SDRI),
        gives players decision-making power over all areas of planning in the
        Lower Mainland. Players watch the consequences of their ideas and
        policies unfold over four decades from 1990 to 2030.
        Contact: David Biggs, graduate student, Sustainable Development
        Research Institute,
        604-822-8198

        Some more recent (1999) news about Dave Biggs and QUEST:

        http://www.library.ubc.ca/patscan/news/sprg99news.html

        This article contains a link to the company Biggs and a colleague
        formed to develop and market QUEST:

        http://www.envisiontools.com/

        This is recent, as witnessed by the following at the bottom of their
        homepage:

        Copyright 2002 Envision Sustainability Tools
        info@... | p: 604.225.2000 | f: 604.225.2001
        Website Design by Communicopia.Net

        This site seems to have what you're looking for.

        Best of luck, and I hope this helps advance things!

        Chris Miller


        On Sunday, March 9, 2003, at 08:30 am, J.H. Crawford wrote:

        >
        > Hi 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?
      • J.H. Crawford
        Hi Chris, Thanks very much for the extremely thorough follow-up. It should be a fairly simple matter for me to get in touch with someone now. Regards, Joel ...
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 10, 2003
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          Hi Chris,

          Thanks very much for the extremely thorough follow-up. It should be a
          fairly simple matter for me to get in touch with someone now.

          Regards,

          Joel


          >I took a look at the site for the Institute described in this portion
          >of the article:
          >
          >>> �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 Columbia�s
          >>> 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
          >>> making.
          >
          >The address is:
          >
          >http://www.sdri.ubc.ca/about_sdri/index.cfm
          >
          >There's quite a bit of info here about what they are doing, and links
          >to the Institute's numerous members, however I can't locate the Dave
          >Biggs mentioned in the article. Here is a press release from 1996 about
          >the game, when Dave Biggs was a grad student. The address:
          >
          >http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/media/releases/1996/mr-96-78.html
          >
          >The press release:
          >
          >QUEST peers into Vancouver's future
          > What will Vancouver and the Fraser Valley be like in the year 2030?
          >The answer is in your hands when you play QUEST, a computer game aimed
          >at making complex urban planning issues accessible to the average
          >citizen. The game, developed by master's student David Biggs and
          >colleagues at the Sustainable Development Research Institute (SDRI),
          >gives players decision-making power over all areas of planning in the
          >Lower Mainland. Players watch the consequences of their ideas and
          >policies unfold over four decades from 1990 to 2030.
          >Contact: David Biggs, graduate student, Sustainable Development
          >Research Institute,
          >604-822-8198
          >
          >Some more recent (1999) news about Dave Biggs and QUEST:
          >
          >http://www.library.ubc.ca/patscan/news/sprg99news.html
          >
          >This article contains a link to the company Biggs and a colleague
          >formed to develop and market QUEST:
          >
          >http://www.envisiontools.com/
          >
          >This is recent, as witnessed by the following at the bottom of their
          >homepage:
          >
          >Copyright 2002 Envision Sustainability Tools
          > info@... | p: 604.225.2000 | f: 604.225.2001
          > Website Design by Communicopia.Net
          >
          >This site seems to have what you're looking for.
          >
          >Best of luck, and I hope this helps advance things!
          >
          >Chris Miller
          >
          >
          >On Sunday, March 9, 2003, at 08:30 am, J.H. Crawford wrote:
          >
          >>
          >> Hi 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?
          >
          >
          >
          >To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
          >To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
          >Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
          >
          >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >

          ----------------------------------------------------------------------

          Drop Bush
          Not Bombs

          -- ### --

          J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
          mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
        • paulparma
          ... points out, is that when we are all town planners, we will have nobody to blame but ourselves when the buses don t run on time. I never got around to
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 10, 2003
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            >
            > 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 don't run on time."

            I never got around to putting it in my application to the Community
            and Regional Planning program at UT, a lack of guts or discretion,
            I'm not sure, but I've come to believe that City Planning is not
            rocket science, Nikos A. Salingaros and Game Development not
            withstanding (modeling and simulation).

            Good find if the actual game an be found... and what do I need to do
            to get it transferable to my town USA or Europa... rhetorical question
            until we find the game.

            We did a presumably MUCH simpler, hardcopy version of this in the
            Austin Metro region using cards representing diffent densities, areas
            and use mixes, none unfortunately that were close to what we're
            looking for in this group... and the only 'players' that showed up
            were not very representative of the average Austinite. But a web
            based gam...., your in control and if it don't work its due to your
            decisions that you stood by so fervantly earlier.....


            Paul Parma
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