Developers Unveil 'SimCity' Style Tool For Urban Planning

The new "Betaville" allows anyone to add buildings, bridges and art to a digital replica of New York.

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Think of it as SimCity on steroids.

Developers unveiled a new urban planning tool Thursday they hope will dramatically transform the way that planners develop New York.

"Betaville," which is available for download now, looks a lot like Google Earth, with true-to-life 3-D models of Manhattan's buildings and streets. But instead of a static landscape, users can alter the map, moving buildings and adding new ones, as well as roads, bridges, parks and public art.
Other users can then weigh in, adding comments and proposing changes, or upload variations of their own.

"This was supposed to be science fiction. It's not," said Carl Skelton, the project's head and director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

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