Gaming to drive design for Maroochydore smart city

Gamification used to gather a diverse range of ideas for construction

Maroochydore in Queensland is set to become a smart city with the help of the local and international gaming community. The-Core is working with Maroochy Shire Council on a global competition where participants build a city or an aspect of a city through the game Minecraft.

The council purchased a golf club in Maroochydore and plans to recreate it into a smart city. The participants would look at how they structure different types of transport, how resources and assets are dispersed throughout the city, and how different types of infrastructure interacts.

Read: Smart cities: using data to shape our urban environments

“As the kids are playing, they are becoming engineers and architects. They have got basically no limit to what they can do,” said The-Core co-founder Craig Josic.

“[Minecraft] has been described as a digital LEGO. Anyone in the world can use it on a server, but we’ve actually created a private server. They register for the competition and go onto the server. They can interact and talk with other players.

“What better way to engage the youth and connect with them than through Minecraft to get their creative ideas. That’s what we are doing – running a creative ideas competition.”

Josic said the reason why he was interested in engaging with gamers on this project is to get access to a diversity of ideas, so the broader community has a say in building the city, not just the politicians and council members.

“People have different perceptions around a smart city, and what a smart city means and how does it affects their life,” he said. “I think government sometimes disenfranchises [itself] from the community. We want to do the opposite of that.”

Josic said he will also tap into open government data and look at using machine learning and data analytics tools to help build the smart city.

So far about 100 people are currently participating, with almost 30,000 views of the competition YouTube clip. Josic said the participants come from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Kuwait, New Zealand, the United States and United Kingdom.

The competition will run until May 31, 2014. More than $10,000 in cash, prizes and education can be won. People under 13 years of age can also participate.

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Tags gaminggamificationSmart CityMaroochydoresmarter cityThe-Core

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