“A living city is always in Beta. Let’s play.” That is the tagline of Betaville, a new “open source, multi-player environment for real cities” and the mantra of its developer, Carl Skelton, director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center (BxmC) at NYU Poly. The Omnibus recently had a chance to catch up with Skelton on the southernmost tip of Manhattan — a part of the city already rendered in 3D and available online on Betaville — to discuss how the project expands the participatory toolset of engaged urban citizens, and what participatory means in the first place. The goal of Betaville is “for new works of public art, architecture, urban design, and development [to be] be shared, discussed, tweaked, and brought to maturity in context, and with the kind of broad participation people take for granted in open source software development.”

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