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Friday, November 12, 2004
SimCity and its influence on planning culture. Early versions of the game were criticised for their rather simplistic political slant - low taxes make happy people, etc. etc. As the article notes, the later versions of the game divides each city into local neighbourhoods, and the effects of different decisions - school locations, crime levels, etc. - impact first on one neighbourhood and nearby neighbourhoods, rather than reflect on the city as a whole.

Turns out that the types of city created within SimCity are very much based on the American, rather than the European model - 'the sense of abundant open space'. As the piece states: "Unwieldy growth and megalomaniacal, destructive behavior are the two poles of [Sim]city operation and the player’s most likely courses of action. Thus the heart of the game is much less a universal vision of city design than it is a reflection of the most extreme tendencies of development in America, found in the few areas in which one person has total control over a large parcel of land..."

Related. Make a City Model (via tmn) / a huge collection of SimCity fansites / the history of Brasilia, with some amazing construction photos / the book jackets of George Salter / a 'disgruntled spouse' writes from the front lines of today's dynamic games industry, where big budgets collide with tight deadlines at great personal expense.

No,2 self writes about Paul Shepheard, whose book What Is Architecture?: An Essay on Landscapes, Buildings and Machines was one of our favourite books on the built environment from the last year. I also have a copy of his earlier book, What Is Architecture? (subtitle, An Essay on Landscapes, Buildings and Machines), which I'm looking forward to reading. Looks good, if Peter Lindberg's snippets are anything to go by.

Icon magazine on design blogging (the same article in article in pdf format - thanks to 0lll for posting the article, to Javier at archinect for alerting me and to Rob for the scans). Related, a cover page archive for the archinect web magazine. See also this cover page archive for Salon.

A nice collection of mostly incredibly tasteless celebrity cars / Fonts from American food advertising / something to explore a little deeper: Proboscis. This creative studio seems to be all about facilitating collaborations between artists / Our Show Home gears up for another exhibition of mid century modern furniture, etc. / Saarinen (senior?) gets his dues.

We glossed over Michael Wolf's amazing photos yesterday. The point to them, of course, is to highlight the sheer weight of plastic toys that comes out of China and the less than satisfactory conditions under which they're produced.