simcity baghdad – mammoth // building nothing out of something

simcity baghdad

[update: thanks to commenter цarьchitect, a screen capture from a demo for SIM Building, a program of the sort which likely provides the underlying architecture for UrbanSim]

An unfortunately brief article in the latest Atlantic Monthly describes “SimCity Baghdad”, a video game developed for the US Army in order to train officers to navigate the intersections of local politics, Iraqi culture, infrastructure, urban social systems, and insurgent violence.  It’s not exactly what I was thinking of when I described a hypothetical Infrastructure XL, but UrbanSim (that’s the actual title of the game) nonetheless represents a fascinating evolution of the traditional and staid genre of city-building video games, though it is obviously an evolution with sinister overtones.

[Your authoritative source for understanding military urbanism is of course Subtopia, but this recent BLDGBLOG post on Die Hard, the Israeli military, and the violent navigation of architectural space also springs to mind for its explication of the links between military practices and architectural practices.  And I’d be negligent if I failed to mention the Archinect school blog of Nick Sowers (@soundscrapers), which is conveniently capped just today with a look back at his grand tour of military installations (and American bases in particular) around the world.]

3 Responses to “simcity baghdad”

  1. About this topic “military urbanism” is interesting the article “Remember Fallujah: demonising place, constructing atrocity” by S. Graham [part of the book Did Someone Say Participate?]. Here the link to the PDF:

    Don’t miss the part “Kill Faster! Islamic cities as targets”

  2. This was actually developed by my company, originally for peacetime applications, however, I can’t say much more about it.

    There’s a detailed video on our otherwise nondescript webpage:

  3. rholmes says:

    Thanks, Ethel, that’s a valuable link.

    And цarьchitect, that’s quite the tease — “can’t say much more about it” — but I’ll let it slide. Thanks for the link to the video, I was quite curious about what the game looks like.