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.

1 minute read

March 21, 2016, 2:00 PM PDT

By jwilliams @jwillia22

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.

Monday, March 7, 2016 in Dezeen

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.