What can video games teach us about urban planning?


It’s a subject with broader relevance than one might initially assume: Perhaps 3 billion people around the world play video games; many millions are spending large amounts of their lives exploring the streets of these virtual cities. Game city design also sheds some light on real-life planning — and not just because designers of successful game cities need to think carefully about the scale, interconnection and visual appeal of what they create.

The expansion of architecture into the metaverse is inevitable, with designers like Kazys Varnelis and others creating virtual worlds with the expressed intent of taking lessons learned from the digital sphere and applying them to the real built environment.

Urban planners, as well as architects, have long looked to the genre to better their own hand in any further attempts to create the ideal environment. 

“Every city has to be internally cohesive — realism leads to believability,” Konstantinos Dimopoulos, a game designer and urban planning academic, told Bloomberg. “And that believability can lead to the sort of spatial immersion we crave, this sense of being in this new digital realm as an entity yourself.”

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