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How Gaming Can Revolutionize Planning

The new game Block’Hood seeks to illustrate and educate about the connection between sustainability and social and economic needs in city and neighborhood building.
March 21, 2016, 2pm PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Jose Sanchez of the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture has produced Block’Hood, a neighborhood building simulator, that he hopes will attract both gamers and practitioners. Marcus Fairs writes in Dezeen that the new simulator, released on March 10th and available on Steam, challenges players to balance the needs for inputs with the resultant outputs.

"The game is based on concepts of ecology and entropy," Sanchez said. "Blocks require inputs to survive. A tree might need water, but an apartment will need electricity, water and public space."

"All blocks in the game have specific needs, but also produce specific outputs. By balancing the inputs and outputs of blocks in the game, a player understands the complex interdependence among city units."

Fairs writes that the game, and urban development games similar to it, may one day play a role in how our cities are shape din the future. Gaming can be used to encourage public participation and help residents understand the complexities of the urban environment. So far, Block'Hood has received pretty positive reviews on Steam where it is available for purchase and download.

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Published on Monday, March 7, 2016 in Dezeen
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