Monday, March 3, 2014

Semester One in SIM CITY

We're still compiling the data, reports, and projects, but here's what we have so far from Semester One at The Frisch School's SIM CITY class:


Thanks to Ben and Eytan for creating this video that tells all about the SIM CITY class:


Now that you know about the class a bit more, here are links to the sectors the students in the class decided to create. Make sure you check out the ethical dilemmas each sector contemplated. They're really thought-provoking.


Evan and Gabe are our city's business leaders:

Ethical dilemma: CEO Salaries


Abby, Avital, and Emily made sure our city's fashion is eco-friendly:

Ethical dilemma: Sweatshops and Animal Testing


Gabi, Eitan, Jason La., Re'em, and Yitzchak created SIM CITY's government: FTP, For the People:

For the People website

The whole venture of the Politics and Governance group was to explore different ethical dilemmas in society. Politics and Governance explored the pros and cons of abortion, drugs and alcohol, and gun control, which were topics the class as a whole voted on and decided they wanted this sector to explore.


A.J., Jono, and Rami made our city's sports center a community space:

Stay tuned for an explanation of the community center as well as for the ethical dilemma on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports.


Ben, Jacob, and Jason Le. are in charge of the tech sector:

Ethical dilemma: Iron Man suits and 3D printers


It was Alexa, Nate, and Zoe who spent the semester creating an analog -- and colorful -- form of our city:

Alexa, Nate, and Zoe based the shape of the city on a cell!

Here's a collection of facts the Urban Design team learned about their topic:


When we originally began our project of urban design, as a group we only had a big picture of the city and did not consider the small details. We did not include important aspects that are crucial for a successful city. For example, the original layers of the city only contained the basics of where restaurants and homes would be. However, we later realized we needed shops, grocery stores and hospitals. The following list contains new facts that we learned over the semester that helped us improve the Urban Design of our city.

1.     It is important to have various different roads and highways to make the city more accessible.
2.     Every dollar invested in public transportation generates about $4 in economic returns.
3.     Public transportation saves the U.S. about 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
4.     Bicycles can serve as social integration; lower and upper classes use them.

Eco Friendly:
5.     Solar panels are expensive and are complex to install.
6.     87% of people in cities use their local urban parks.
7.     There is a difference between “Urban design” and “Urban planning.” Urban design is immediate planning for what the area is currently, while urban planning takes into consideration change and the future.
8.     Low impact materials that we can use to build in our city are: bamboo, recycled metal, recycled stone.
9.     The aesthetics of a city are very important for creating an eco-friendly place, because people will be more motivated to walk/bike places.
10.    3D model: It was important to think through the steps of making the city city and make sure that it would be easy for a person to get from the center of the city outwards easily.
11.     There are three core concepts of urban design: Transportation, building structure, and parks.
12.     Function and fit: You need to shape places to support their varied intended uses
13.     When considering the urban design of city, it is important to remember civil society, to build places/areas where people feel equal.  Allow different people to have access to all parts of the city.
14.      We had to consider pedestrian zones: where people would able to walk/bike vs. where only cars/ buses would be.
15.     Crime prevention through environmental design is altering the physical design of a city to prevent crime.
16.     Zoning is a device of land-use planning used by local governments.
17.     An average of 4.8 million households are government-funded
18.     The average family in a government-funded housing project earns less than $20,000 a year.

A few facts from the books we are reading:

1.    Charles Montgomery: Happy City (Transforming lives through Urban Design)
-     Decentralization: The more thinly a city spreads out, the less access citizens have to one another. It changes the shape and quality of our social networks.
-     A person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office.
-     “The problem is that cars fail to deliver the experience of freedom and speed (which is capable on the open roads, not in cities) The blood of people who drive in cities is a high-test of stress hormones.
-     Bikes and good transit tend to be located in wealthier areas which create an even bigger divide between the rich and the poor.
-If people involved in Urban Design knew more about what makes people happier on a day-to-day basis, it could highly influence our behaviors.

By creating a model of what our city looks like, we gained many skills. Each member of our group came up with ideas of what our city should look like, and we worked together to put all of our good ideas into our art project. By doing this, we all collaborated and put our best effort into the layout of the city. We really learned how to work together as a group and let all of our good ideas translate into a detailed art project.


In our project we utilized the art room to the best of our ability. We used many tools in the art room to be creative and create things we didn’t plan on doing. Things appeared in front of us that allowed us to be creative and create our project. Clay also allowed us to be creative. Our buildings, houses, roads, and parks are all made out of clay, and we used the different colors to represent different aspects of our city. Our creativity with all kinds of tools around the art room really helped us create the model of our city without many problems.


Originally, we were asked to create a website to describe urban design, including our ideas and ethical dilemmas. As we brainstormed about ideas to include on the website, we hit a plateau. We realized that the best manner in which to portray our urban design would be to construct our city into a physical and three-dimensional model. We used clay as the primary material for our city model, yet we were faced with some challenges. As our project launched, we decided to use organic clay because organic products benefit the environment. However, upon entering the art room the day after we began using the organic clay, we were stunned to discover that it had morphed into a misshaped, unidentifiable pile. Next, we had to use non-organic clay. But when we placed the clay on the board, it wouldn’t adhere to it, so we had to use a hot glue gun. Our group motto is “fail fast to learn fast.” Each time we tried a new method, it seemed to fail. We didn’t give up, however, or lose our determination.


Bryan, Elan, Eytan, and Shira thought of creative ways to recycle and repurpose as they took charge of our SIM CITY's waste management:

Waste Management

A wallet made from the inner parts of a computer keyboard