Not just a game. Your mission: Design a smart city

3-D simulation game helps municipal planners -- and anyone else -- understand the consequences of development strategies on your community.

For those of you who develop your ideas in a much less linear way than is typically accommodated in business planning exercises, check out this interactive game site, called SymbioCity, where you and your team can run through scenarios that might affecting your planning for a smart city.

The software borrows from video games and video simulations to walk you through the implications of certain strategies and developments on your community, such as urban sprawl, energy production, water supply contamination. The scenarios last between 20 and 30 minutes.

Here's the opening premise:

"You are the Mayor of an attractive city with more than 300,000 inhabitants. The city is experiencing a much stronger growth than cities in nearby regions. In 20 years from now, the city will double in size! As a result of increased urbanization, the city and its environment will experience severe challenges, if growth is not dealt with in a strategic and sustainable way."

The game was developed by BTS Group, which uses 3-D simulations and interactive games to help organizations create strategies. It actually was first developed as a custom project for the Swedish Trade Council, which was seeking to help create interest in green technology. It uses some of the design principles used in Stockholm's own planning process.

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