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Developers Unveil 'SimCity' Style Tool for Urban Planning


October 22, 2010

Betaville Download: http://www.betaville.net/webstart/

Read More: http://www.dnainfo.com/20101022/midtown/developers-unveil-simcity-style-tool-for-urban-planning

Developers unveiled a new urban planning tool Thursday they hope will dramatically transform the way that planners develop New York. "Betaville," which is available for download now, looks a lot like Google Earth, with true-to-life 3-D models of Manhattan's buildings and streets. But instead of a static landscape, users can alter the map, moving buildings and adding new ones, as well as roads, bridges, parks and public art.

Other users can then weigh in, adding comments and proposing changes, or upload variations of their own. "This was supposed to be science fiction. It's not," said Carl Skelton, the project's head and director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Skelton equated the program with a massive multi-player video game, designed not for virtual warfare or fantasy battles, but for urban planning and development. He hopes it will become a hub where architects, designers, urban planners and community members can come together to converse.

"It's not only a tool for urban design, but urban engagement," Norman Jacknis, the director of Cisco IBSG Public Sector, said at the Municipal Art Society's Summit for New York City, where the project was unveiled. The site is free, open to anyone, and compatible with most common 3-D design software systems, including Google’s free SketchUp. So far, the development team has come up with several plans of its own.









 
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