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SimCity and Urban Planning

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This book is a guide to the casual learner about how Will Wright's popular game SimCity relates to urban planning and how concepts were utilized in the game.

Urban planning is a profession of city and regional governments that addresses the need to effectively plan for new development or redevelopment in an urban area. Today in almost all developed countries, it is commonly applied to any type of formal land development whether it it be in the rural country, suburbia, or downtown. SimCity simulates this profession by giving the tools necessarily to "create cities" such as zoning for land uses, plotting roads, and shaping the landscape.

SimCity takes planning a step further by giving the player control of the city budget, unlimited bulldozing power (eminent domain), and no legal hurdles. In essence the game captures the functions of city government, not just urban planning. However the basis on which the city can grow and the game's programming of what grows or doesn't, is heavily based in planning policy and theories of economic development.

A map of Washington, DC
A map of Washington, DC

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