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robertogreco : simcity   15

Model Metropolis
"Behind one of the most iconic computer games of all time is a theory of how cities die—one that has proven dangerously influential."



"Forrester’s central claim about complexity wasn’t a new one; it has a long history on the political right. In a 1991 book, Rhetoric of Reaction, the development economist and economic historian Albert O. Hirschman identified this style of argument as an example of what he called the “perversity thesis.” This kind of attack, which Hirschman traced back to Edmund Burke’s writings on the French Revolution, amounts to a kind of concern trolling. Using this rhetorical tactic, the conservative speaker can claim that they share your social goal, but simultaneously argue that the means you are using to achieve it will only make matters worse. When commentators claim “no-platforming will only make more Nazis,” that welfare programs lock recipients into a “cycle of dependency,” or that economic planning will lead a society down a “road to serfdom,” they’re making this kind of perversity argument.

What Forrester did was give the perversity thesis a patina of scientific and computational respectability. Hirschman himself makes specific reference to Urban Dynamics and argues that the “special, sophisticated attire” of Forrester’s models helped reintroduce this kind of argument “into polite company.” In the nearly fifty years since it has come out, Forrester’s “counterintuitive” style of thinking has become the default way of analyzing policy for mainstream wonks. For many, “counterintuitivity” is the new intuition.

Expert knowledge, of course, has an important place in democratic deliberation, but it can also cut people out of the policy process, dampen the urgency of moral claims, and program a sense of powerlessness into our public discourse. Appeals to a social system’s “complexity” and the potential for “perverse outcomes” can be enough to sink transformative social programs that are still on the drawing board. This might not matter in the context of a virtual environment like that of Urban Dynamics or SimCity, but we have decades of real-world evidence that demonstrates the disastrous costs of the “counterintuitive” anti-welfare agenda. Straightforward solutions to poverty and economic misery—redistribution and the provision of public services—have both empirical backing and moral force. Maybe it’s time we start listening to our intuition again."
simcity  libertarianism  history  games  gaming  videogames  cities  simulations  simulation  2019  kevinbaker  urban  urbanism  policy  politics  economics  bias  willwright  urbanpolicy  urbanplanning  complexity  democracy  alberthirschman  edmundburke  danielpatrickmoynihan  jayforrester  paulstarr  urbandynamics  johncollins  dynamo  class  classism  motivation  money  government  governance  poverty  systemsthinking  society 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Preparing Our Kids for Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet — Making DIY — Medium
"Childhood passions that seem like fads, sometimes even totally unproductive, could be mediums for experiencing the virtuous cycle of curiosity: discovering, trying, failing and growing."

"When I was 11 I loved designing web pages and playing Sim City. Adults in my life didn’t recognize these skills as valuable, so neither did I. Actually, I began to feel guilty for using my computer so much. In high school I stopped making web pages altogether to focus on sports. It wasn’t until college, when strapped to pay my tuition, that I picked it back up and started making sites for small businesses. I graduated and teamed up with a few others I knew with these skills and moved to New York City to work on the Internet for a living. Three years later, in 2007, we sold our company, Vimeo, to a larger, publicly traded one. That passion I first developed quietly by myself, that went unnoticed by my parents and teachers, proved to be extraordinarily valuable to the economy just ten years later and the focus of many ambitious people today.

It’s difficult to predict which skills will be valuable in the future, and even more challenging to see the connection between our children’s interests and these skills. Nothing illustrates this better than Minecraft, a popular game that might be best described as virtual LEGOs. Calling it a game belies the transformation it has sparked: An entire generation is learning how to create 3D models using a computer. It makes me wonder what sort of jobs, entertainment or art will be possible now. Cathy Davidson, a scholar of learning technology, concluded that 65% of children entering grade school this year will end up working in careers that haven’t even been invented yet. I bet today’s kids will eventually explore outcomes and create businesses only made possible by the influence of Minecraft in their lives.

At least one business will have been inspired by the so-called game. In 2011, I co-founded DIY, the online community I wish I had when I was young. Our members use discover new skills and try challenges in order to learn them. They keep a portfolio and share pictures and videos of their progress, and by doing so they attract other makers who share their interests and offer feedback. The skills we promote range from classics likes Chemistry and Writing, to creativity like Illustration and Special Effects, to adventure like Cartography and Sailing, to emerging technology like Web Development and Rapid Prototyping. We create most of our skill curriculum in collaboration with our members. Recently the community decided to make Roleplayer an official skill; It’s a fascinating passion that involves collaboratively authoring stories in real time.

My objective with this wide-ranging set of skills, and involving the community so closely in their development, is to give kids the chance to practice whatever makes them passionate now and feel encouraged — even if they’re obsessed with making stuff exclusively with duct tape. It’s crucial that kids learn how to be passionate for the rest of their lives. To start, they must first learn what it feels like to be simultaneously challenged and confident. It’s my instinct that we should not try to introduce these experiences through skills we value as much as look for opportunities to develop them, as well as creativity and literacy, in the skills they already love.

Whether it’s Minecraft or duct tape wallets, the childhood passions that seem like fads, sometimes even totally unproductive, can alternatively be seen as mediums for experiencing the virtuous cycle of curiosity: discovering, trying, failing and growing. At DIY, we’ve created a way for kids to explore hundreds of skills and to understand the ways in which they can be creative through them. Often, the skills are unconventional, and almost always the results are surprising. I don’t think it’s important that kids use the skills they learn on DIY for the rest of their lives. What’s important is that kids develop the muscle to be fearless learners so that they are never stuck with the skills they have. Only this will prepare them for a world where change is accelerating and depending on a single skill to provide a lifetime career is becoming impossible."

[Also posted here: https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-05-26-how-minecraft-and-duct-tape-wallets-prepare-our-kids-for-jobs-that-don-t-exist-yet ]
zachklein  diy.org  education  2015  unschooling  deschooling  childhood  learning  howwelearn  minecraft  passion  change  creativity  invention  cathydavidson  simcity  webdesign  discovery  failure  informallearning  game  gaming  videogames  making  webdev 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug or a Feature? | Motherboard
""To me video games are the so-called 'real America,'" he said. "The real America operates according to a video game logic, and that game logic is neo-liberalism, and that absolutely manifests in San Francisco, that to me is the epicenter of inequality. In San Francisco you either have a Tesla and you drink a seven dollar cappuccino or you're homeless in the streets.""



"Bittanti thinks SimCity still matters a lot because it's a failure, and that it should teach us how to incorporate real life issues into simulations. It's all fun and games when developers are imitating Michael Bay and other Hollywood action movies, but when they tackle real issues, the programming and design disciplines that served them in the past don't cut it.

"Issues like homelessness require an approach that is beyond algorithms. It's beyond technological reasons. It requires psychology, anthropology, philosophy. It really shows the limit of the video game.""
simcity  homelessness  neoliberalism  sanfrancisco  economics  inequality  2015  emanuelmaiberg  matteobittanti 
january 2015 by robertogreco
MultipliCITY | Molleindustria
"SimCity promises endless possibilities. You can create the city of your dreams. But in reality you always end up with Phoenix, Arizona. The only type of city you can create is the modernist, car centered, grid based, North American city (Although in some recent versions like SimCity Societies they tried to add variety).

And it’s not just a matter of appearances. Here I tried to build an alternative city based on Situationist principles of Unitary Urbanism. I mixed work places and recreational place, I invested in public transportation and green areas.

But the citizens hated it. It was not a thriving city.

Another issue is the relationship between urban settlements and nature. You can start from an existing city and try to improve it, but the game is really meant to start from a tabula rasa, with a city built from scratch. The natural environment comes up as a blank slate, uninhabited and pre-packaged in discreet square units, ready to conquer and exploit.

It’s very common in games to have a territory that comes already partitioned in units of lands. Civilization uses a grid system too. There are technical reasons for that. But still, it suggests a very specific vision of the nature and ecosystems.

SimCity is not just about planning, you have to take decisions like how to tax your citizens. In pretty much all the titles of the series if your tax rate is around 12% or higher citizens get upset. Typically with a 20% tax, wealthy citizens will simply leave regardless of the services you provide. Some players even managed to run cities with 0 taxes.

This is a pretty clear libertarian bias. In many countries people tolerate high taxation if they feel like they get valuable services from the state.

It’s true that SimCity doesn’t have a stated goal but there is an implied goal which is growth. You can play subversively in many different ways, you can destroy things by triggering disasters. But the only truly rewarding way to play is by trying to make a big, functional city.
SimCity encourages endless growth without ever confronting the player with scarcity of resources. In SimCity 2000 when the map is full you can build arcologies that are cities within cities. And when you fill the map with arcologies, they simply take off to some other planet and you start over. It perpetually postpones the issue of the limits to growth.

Race and class conflicts are also sanitized. Crime can usually be addressed by building more police stations. And you’ll never see racial riots or experience disruptive suburbanization – the White flight. These conflicts were crucial for the development and the decline of North American cities (Detroit being a textbook case). And yet they are not included in the SimCity model.

Probably the most fundamental problem with SimCity is the premise itself: that a single person, the mayor/city planner/dictator, can address the contradictions of contemporary capitalist cities though judicious planning. Seeing the city as organism that can be in good or bad health is denying that there are irreducible conflicting interests at play.

Moreover, there are some more general bias that make SimCity a problematic artifact. Some bias are related to the mathematical, computational nature of the medium: everything is reduced to quantity, to numbers, variables, flows. Some bias are related to the management genre: this top down cybernetic approach is inherently reductionist. It embodies the modernist paradigm of city planning “from above” ignoring the city as lived at street level. This is the approach that informed carefully planned but ultimately unlivable cities like Brasilia.

But most of the bias and the issues I just mentioned come from the fact that between a real city and a simulation of a city there are actual people. People with their own values, experiences, and beliefs that inevitably affect the design of the game."
simcity  modernism  frowth  urban  urbanism  cityplanning  planning  urbanplanning  libertarianism  taxes  brasilia  multiplicity  paolopedercini  2014  brasília 
june 2014 by robertogreco
MoMA | Video Games: 14 in the Collection, for Starters
"We are very proud to announce that MoMA has acquired a selection of 14 video games, the seedbed for an initial wish list of about 40 to be acquired in the near future, as well as for a new category of artworks in MoMA’s collection that we hope will grow in the future. This initial group, which we will install for your delight in the Museum’s Philip Johnson Galleries in March 2013, features:

• Pac-Man (1980)
• Tetris (1984)
• Another World (1991)
• Myst (1993)
• SimCity 2000 (1994)
• vib-ribbon (1999)
• The Sims (2000)
• Katamari Damacy (2004)
• EVE Online (2003)
• Dwarf Fortress (2006)
• Portal (2007)
• flOw (2006)
• Passage (2008)
• Canabalt (2009)"
zelda  corewar  marblemadness  yars'revemge  supermario  supermario64  streetfighterii  nethack  donkeykong  spaceinvaders  tempest  zork  snake  pong  minecraft  chronotrigger  animalcrossing  grimfandango  jenovachen  pacman  tetris  anotherworld  myst  simcity2000  simcity  vib-ribbon  thesims  katamaridamacy  eveonline  dwarffortress  portal  flow  passage  canabalt  moma  design  videogames  art  gaming  games  paolaantonelli  2012 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Gamasutra - Features - Creating A Glitch In the Industry
"Q: This is like the unholy marriage of Animal Crossing & EVE Online.

SB: …That's actually a very good way [of describing it.] LittleBigPlanet is obviously an inspiration…in the aesthetics. I wish that we had a PS3 underneath this & that we're a lot better on 3D. But EVE, MOOs, & Animal Crossing have a cult following [here]

…I've never played EVE before…never got into it because it just seemed too hard to me. It's my favorite game to read about.

Q: Most games are boring to play & boring to read about. I'm not sure if EVE's boring to play; it's just an investment I don't want to make. But it's fascinating to read about.

SB: I've always imagined that while the fights can be exciting & it can be cool…to have victory in one of the fights, it's not really what it's about. I mean, people are playing the game to create the world. They're part of the corporations because they're buying into the agenda, even if it's roleplaying, against some other agenda. That's where the fun is."
stewartbutterfield  glitch  tinyspeck  games  eveonline  gaming  reading  cv  worldbuilding  2010  interviews  animalcrossing  littlebigplanet  gamedev  gamedesign  homoludens  play  facebookconnect  facebook  zynga  mmo  flickr  gne  wow  simcity  sims  everquest  muds  mushes  metaplace  secondlife  social  experience  thesims 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Designtalks - Videos - Ben Cerveny - Play at creativity
"[1] exploring boundaries... [2] tweaking the knobs... [3] call and response [games]... [4] drawing boxes...main difference between play and a game is that you apply a metric to a game...[in a game] you quantize the results of play...you add a goal [to play creating a game]... [5] improvisation... experimentation... distilling patterns... play = understanding possibilities [exploring boundaries], game allows you to come to a systemic conclusion about goals... [6] forming the party... [7] finding the patterns... [8] incentive for interaction [project Natal]... [9] literacy in system models... [10] collaborative creativity... [legos at SXSW]"
bencerveny  play  creativity  collaboration  video  games  videogames  cognition  literacy  design  interaction  flickr  stamendesign  gne  metadata  visualization  rules  arg  observation  patterns  patternrecognition  experimentation  via:preoccupations  psychology  wow  set  natal  microsoft  simcity  systems  flow  modeling  conversation 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Handheld Learning 2008 - Steven Johnson, Author
Steven Johnson talks about Everything Bad Is Good for You adding references to technologies, games, and media that have appeared since publication of the book.
via:preoccupations  videogames  stevenjohnson  gaming  learning  culture  society  tv  television  systems  patterns  simulations  simcity  games  2008  lost  thewire  entertainment  tcsnmy  spore  attention  patience  schools  schooling  brianeno 
january 2009 by robertogreco
WorldChanging: SimCity: Not for Educational Use
"Simulation games like SimCity are valuable because they give a peek at the complex relationships between cause and effect in big systems such as cities. They're a chance to play at the edges of complexity, to see "what happens if I do this?" in both an iterated and replicable fashion. They can be wonderfully seductive digital sirens leading to unexpectedly staying up to 3:30 AM. But to be good educational tools, the models have to be transparent and changeable. We should be able to play with the system itself, not just the system's effects."
simcity  simulations  games  learning  education  transparency  worldchanging  2004  jamaiscascio 
september 2008 by robertogreco
simcity on the olpc (29 January, 2008, Interconnected)
"Satellites are very tall towers used for telecommunications. Are there any other profitable uses of space, or is that it?"..."We used to chase horses off cliffs for food. Then we carried spears. A portable cliff!"
mattwebb  olpc  simcity  cities  simulations  sugar  2008 
january 2008 by robertogreco
TED | TEDBlog: SimCity plays with One Laptop per Child
"Game publisher Electronic Arts has donated the original SimCity, Will Wright's groundbreaking 1989 computer game, to Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop per Child initiative."
olpc  willwright  laptops  $100  simcity  games  play  learning  simulations 
november 2007 by robertogreco
SimCity Societies: A Greener Version of the Urban Jungle: Scientific American
"The much-anticipated game update will address how cities are built with the environment in mind"
games  play  simulations  simcity  cities  environment  sustainability  green  videogames 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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