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City of Boston Gets Second Life

<p>Boston officials hope to recreate parts of the city in the popular virtual world "Second Life".</p>
July 24, 2007, 1pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Captivated by the promotional possibilities and the potential for providing services in Second Life's cyberscape of some 8 million digital people, Boston's technological gurus are laying plans to reconstruct parts of the city online. They hope the Second Life city will eventually include features such as the Hatch Shell, where online concerts could take place, and an online subway that would transport people to all the familiar stops. A version of the Freedom Trail could be made to look as it did during historical events such as the Boston Massacre of 1770.

At the virtual City Hall, they envision, digital images of city councilors would hold office hours, and neigh borhood meetings would take place in virtual conference rooms.

City officials working on the project concede that paying city bills or visiting with officials at a virtual City Hall in Second Life may not strike everyone as more effective than more conventional interactions, like paying through the city's website or sending e-mail to city councilors. But they say the novelty of Second Life could entice more people to participate in real civic life. The virtual city could be used to promote tourism, or to gauge public reaction to proposed new developments, they said.

Whatever the ultimate uses turn out to be, commercial and government entities of all kinds are already experimenting on Second Life, the officials said."

Thanks to Carrie Marsh

Full Story:
Published on Saturday, July 21, 2007 in The Boston Globe
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