Virtual Projections of Ideal Urban Landscape: Using City Building Games to Examine Landscape Values

By Julia Plotts.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 22, 2014 $US5.00

The purpose of this two-part study is to identify urban landscape preferences, determine if there is a relationship between landscape values and design choices, and to open a dialogue between designer and user about landscape values. The reasons why people love a landscape are diverse. Within the field of environmental perception, researchers and planning professionals have worked to identify landscapes that elicit strong attachments and to deduce the reasons for such attachments. The first portion of this study is an analysis of how people design virtual cities in simulation city building games. Subjects who play games such as SimCity and other similar games for the computer, console, and smartphone will be surveyed to determine 1. Where the subjects have grown up and what landscapes—urban, rural, or suburban–they value most and 2. What elements or ideas they found important when designing their ideal city. Their survey results and city design screenshots are compared to find a relationship between where the subjects were brought up, their design intentions, and what they design. The second portion is a conceptual design for an online video game modeled after other simulation city games. The intent of this game is to aid landscape architects in community participation.

Keywords: environmental perception, landscape preferences, landscape values, community, participation, city building games.

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp.243-268. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 22, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.852MB)).

Julia Plotts

Student, University of California, Davis, Landscape Architecture Department, Folsom, CA, USA

My interest is in the design of intimate places for people, specifically, understanding the experience of a user. Design strongly appeals to me because I enjoy conceptualizing the experiential qualities of an un-built landscape. Thus, I am devoted to developing my technique in 3D computer models, hand rendered perspectives, and animations. As I am interested in the experience of the user, I find myself most drawn to the details in design projects. Paving patterns, benches, and other designed elements within the landscape are what catch my eye as a user. Thus, for my own projects I especially enjoy designing customized benches that fit the use and character of the space.

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