This Fully Accurate Simulation Of Real Cities Lets Planners See Their Work In Action

Betaville is like SimCity, if SimCity actually simulated a real city.

We recently had the opportunity to play the new version of SimCity, a city-building game series that has been popular for over 20 years. It’s a fun approximation of urban planning, but despite its intricate detail, SimCity can’t be used to make virtual approximations of real cities that have value to designers and planners. Betaville–a multiplayer simulation for real cities–can.

Designed by Carl Skelton, the founder of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center, Betaville is actually inspired by SimCity. He tells the BBC in an interview: “One of the ways that Sim City was an inspiration was to see the number of human lifetimes that people paid for the privilege to be able to do this. … That told me something about the potential and the pent-up competence in these matters.”

The simulation lets users walk or fly around the streets of New York City (other cities will be available in the future), looking at real-life buildings, their energy usage, and whether it would be possible to heat them with alternative energy. The heart of the simulation, though, is a feature that lets users build up entirely new structures in the virtual representation of NYC. Betaville can accept 3-D models from a variety of tools, including Google Sketchup and Autodesk Maya.

Levis Reyes, a designer who uses Betaville, built Aqua Pods, a mixed-use development that sits between New York and New Jersey. Another designer with the username gary38 came up with the Verde Tower, an egg-shaped building with an external wall that doubles as a place to grow vegetation. Gary also proposed the Jan Bridge, a highline promenade in Brooklyn.

Read more . . .

via FastCoExist – Ariel Schwartz

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