City Planning IV, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Sebastian Niedlich’s (Grabthar) photostream

If you were in control of a city’s energy, water, retail and banking industries, could you make a better, more sustainable place to live? If you answered in the affirmative, you can now test whether that’s true with IBM’s CityOne game. IBM believes that playing their game will enable industries and municipalities to apply innovative technologies to city planning and learn what kind of outcomes they can expect from that technology (but you can play too).

Sam Jones at Green Futures reviewed CityOne (you can read his entire article at This Big City) and describes it as follows:

Players are presented with a series of energy, water and economic problems, whilst charged with providing an urban space conducive to growth – all within a total available budget. They’re armed with a series of gauges measuring business climate, citizen happiness and environmental wellbeing, and assisted by several simulated consultants (presumably a lot cheaper than the real thing).

Among the challenges they face in the 100 or so ‘real world’ scenarios are traffic congestion, water shortages and supply chain problems. They’ll be expected to use techniques such as service reuse, cloud computing and collaborative technologies to help make organisations in city systems more ‘intelligent’ and responsive.

Among the choices they make is whether to deploy new technologies, or re-organise existing systems to make them cleaner and leaner. After the allotted number of ‘turns’, they’re awarded a score which can be compared with like-minded individuals the world over. The game itself has built-in cloud-computing capabilities, allowing players to communicate and confer with industry experts.

CityOne gives players the opportunity to see how they compare with others by geographic location, by industry, and by player type (Pragmatic Leader, Conservative, Evader, Short-Term Thinker and Futurist). How intelligent can you make a city’s infrastructure? You can join the conversation by registering to play here. But, before you start, here’s a trailer for the CityOne Smarter Planet game, as well as a brief introduction video: