October 12, 2007

Sim City

I used to watch over the shoulders of my sons as they played Sim City. I remember thinking, at the time, that in another twenty years a whole generation of city planners, schooled on games like Sim City, would revolutionize how American cities are managed. Every time I read about plans being blocked, I renew my hope for the future planners...
Illinois Senator Durbin: "It troubles me why month after month we have to worry about the governor of Indiana asking for another permit to pollute this lake," Durbin said at a news conference. "I wish Gov. (Mitch) Daniels would come up and take a look at this beautiful lake. It is not just the backyard and sewage dump for the heavy industries that happen to be in Indiana. It happens to be a great asset for his state, for our state and for many others in the Midwest."
Indiana Governor Daniels: "It's clear that the senator (Durbin) doesn't care if steelworkers lose their jobs or not, and it sounds like he prefers that northwest Indiana be a residential colony of Chicago," Jankowski said after speaking with the Republican governor. "It's our responsibility to keep Lake Michigan clean and people at work."
If you've never seen Sim City in action, it is a computer game that simulates building a city from the pipes up. The better you build it, the more simulated people show up to live there... if you don't plan on enough schools, or security, or power, or parks, or universities... people start leaving until it dies... the trick is to try to supply the needs of the people, plan for their future, without running out of money. You control the tax rate, the type of power available, the type of roads or subways or rail, the type of neighborhoods -- everything.

Let's hope an influx of Sim-trained city planners can find a way through the politics of the future.

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