Creating another world.

May 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

New York Magazine’s Entertainment section had a great article this Friday about Grand Theft Auto 4’s creation of ridiculous replica of New York City.

Rockstar Games’ Dan Houser on Grand Theft Auto IV and Digitally Degentrifying New York

This article is especially appealing to me as a student of urban planning and design. In the same way the SimCity line of games allowed for a god-like creation and management of cities (and became a major reason why I became interested in the field), GTA 4 actually lets you live and interact with a city that’s almost as real as it gets without actually going there.

Google Earth/Maps allows us to look in on real cities (with much similarity to the perspective of SimCity), and while those still shots from outer space can give planners and curious citizens unique looks into their surroundings, the technology in GTA 4 could easily be transported to modelling cities and being able to “live” in them to understand exactly how a planning decision will affect how the city behaves and how it’s used. Seeing new development in a first-person real context would be a huge leap for the field.

A lot of decisions in the planning field have impacted people (especially the poor) in negative ways. Maybe this technology can finally allow planners to see the problems that could be caused, and allow residents to see the positives that new development might bring.

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Entry filed under: Geography, technology, Urban Planning.

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