Karoliina Korppoo
1.466.634 views • 8:39

We humans are becoming an urban species, so cities, they are our natural habitat. That is where we live. In 2014, over 54 percent of the world population was living in cities, and I can bet you that so many of these people have thought of how they would do things differently, like if I only had the tools to change things in my city, what would I do? What would my dream city be like? And these tools, this is just what we gave them. Two years ago, my team and I, we released a game, "Cities: Skylines." It is a game about building cities.

So I have always been interested in cities as systems. It's something that I find immensely interesting. But what I didn't understand was that I am not alone in this. People love cities. They are interested. They have ideas. The game was an instant hit. So far, over three and a half million people have played it.

And it's not just about playing. We also have really awesome sharing systems. So people play, they create cities and then they are sharing these creations, showing off what they have made. And what I will show you is some of these cities created by the players.

So the game is about self-expression, creativity, not just overcoming the challenges posed by the simulation. It is about showing what your cities look like.

So I have a couple of videos. These are from YouTube. And these are some of the most interesting city designs I have seen. So they are all different, and I hope you like all of these.

This one is called The Netherlands. It's by Silvarret. And when you start the game, you have an empty piece of land. This land, it can be based on the real world, it can be hand-crafted in the map editor, or you can, of course, download a city made by someone else and play in that. But what Silvarret has done here is that what he wanted to make was not a real city. This is a fantasy city, even though it looks real. So what he wanted to do was a fantasy city that could be in the Netherlands. So he kind of investigated what are the characteristics of cities in the Netherlands and combined a couple of those, and this is what he created. So it is a city, but it is not a real city, but it could be. It looks just like the Netherlands. So the places are really densely populated. So what you need is highways, trains, anything connecting these small town centers together. Lots of people, lots of moving, so transportation is the key here.

But then let's go even more on the fantasy side. Let's go into the future. This is one of my personal favorites. These city designs are what I love the most. So this is a tiered city by Conflictnerd, and the basic idea is that you have concentric circle routes. So the city is a big circle with tinier circles inside. And the thing is that you put all of the services in the center, and then people actually live on the outer ring, because there is less traffic, less noise, less pollution, so that is where you want to live. But the services are still really close by. They are in the center. And this is the soul of the game. The player has to understand what are the wishes, what are the needs of the tiny people living in the cities. So you need to know where you should put the things. Like, it's not enough to have a hospital. It needs to be accessible. Citizens need to reach the hospital. And this is one way to do it. So maybe this is something that we might be seeing someday.

And then even more into the future. Astergea by Yuttho. So Yuttho does YouTube videos and plays the game. What he did here was actually a 12-point series of creating this city. So what he does is he plays the game, he records it and he explains as he's going what he's doing and why. And as a part of this series, he actually did an interview with an actual urban planner called Jeff Speck. And Speck is an expert on the concept of walkability. The basic idea is that if you want your citizens to walk, which is kind of beneficial, you actually need to have walking as a reasonable means of transportation. It should be a good way to reach places. So what Yuttho did was that he explained this concept, he had Speck explain it, too, and then he applied it to the city that he was building. So what we are seeing is Yuttho's vision of the future: lots of public transportation, walkways, plazas, connecting high-rise buildings. Maybe this is what the future might look like. And the game system works really well for this.

We are seeing some real-world uses to this game. So we know that some urban planners are using it as a sketching tool, so while the simulation is not completely realistic, it is realistic enough that if something works in the game, it is highly likely that it will also work in the real world, so that you can actually try out things, see if this intersection might fit this kind of a situation. If we build a new road, would it help? And this is what you can do with this game.

There was one really interesting contest held by the Finnish city of Hämeenlinna. So what they did was that they had a new area that they wanted to develop in the city. They made a map with the existing city, they left empty the area that they would want to develop and shared this map. So anyone could download the map, play the game, build the area and submit their creations to the city council. So they have not yet built anything, but it might just be that they use one of these plans made with the game to actually build the real city.

And these videos that I have shown you, these are the people who are coming up with new kinds of solutions. We know that cities are growing. They're getting bigger as we go, and the percentage of population living in cities is projected to rise. So we need the solutions and these people, playing the game, they are trying out different kinds of solutions. They might have something that is really important. So what we are seeing here is dream cities that might be real one day. So it might be that this is not just a game. It might be a way to decide our own fate.

Thank you.

(Applause)