People love cities.
Humans are slowly, but steadily, becoming an urban species. Therefore, cities have now become their natural habitat. In 2014, over 54 percent of the world population was living in cities. City life is amazing and gives everyone much satisfaction and a little discomfort. However, so many of these people wonder, once in a while, of how they would do things differently if only had the tools to change things in their cities. What would their dream city be like?
This is exactly where simulation games based on infrastructure building come in. Games about building and designing cities from scratch show exactly how much people love them. Such games are immensely popular with the crowd. They give the player the power to either design a city from the scratch, redesign or work in someone else’s established city to make improvements. It’s not just about overcoming the challenges posed by the simulations anymore. Such games have become a form of self-expression and creativity.
Video game designers, like Karoliina Korppoo, believe that by giving people access to platforms where they can build, design and establish a city, they are giving everyone an opportunity to understand how it all works and what can be done for improvement of infrastructure and lifestyle. Karoliina Korppoo and her team released the game ‘Cities:Skylines’ to understand better what a person’s dream city would be like. Similarly, they can also give an idea of what kind of designs or facilities do people want in their cities and what could potentially not be popular with the residents or fail to deliver its worth.
The way players design their cities in such gameplays helps give ideas in terms of how urban development can be created or further enhanced for a better experience and lifestyle. In fact, many urban planners use such designs as sketching tools. Though simulations are far from reality, they are realistic enough to know that if something works in the game, it can work in the real world as well.
While some of the people may think that this is just a concept, such tactics have already been put into use for a wider spectrum of ideas and solutions for city development. For example, the Finnish city of Hämeenlinna held a contest. Their purpose was to generate new ideas for an area of the city that they wished to develop. So, they took the map of the city as it is, turned it into a simulation, and left an empty patch of the area they wanted to develop. Once this map was shared to the public, anyone could download it, build the area and submit their creations to the city council. While the city hasn’t begun building, they might just use one of these plans submitted by the people, or a combination of these to build the real city.
Now, we all know this for a fact that cities are expanding day by day and the population living in the cities is projected to rise slowly. Solutions for improved urban developments and maximization of resources are required. And such gameplay and their real-life implementations are examples of the people who are coming up with new kinds of solutions.
Solutions might just spring up from one of the many cities people design as a part of playing a simulation city building game. People are very innovative when they design their cities, using their creativity to come to simple solutions for complex obstacles. Therefore, looking towards them for answers may just be a great idea, for they might have something that is really important.
All the dream cities that we see in games might just become real one day. One day, maybe, these will not remain just games, but a means to decide our own fate.