New Immersive Simulator Lets Game Players Reimagine Land Use Based on Real Science

UW–Madison researchers teamed with New England conservation nonprofit Mass Audubon to create an online learning game that lets players model how different zoning choices would affect the environment, jobs, housing and other real-world factors for any location in the contiguous U.S.

Built using a variety of state and federal data sets, the free game, known as iPlan, lets players simulate different land-use scenarios and see the changing effects on their community – the way more needed housing in a certain location might further imperil a threatened species, for example, or how fewer factories would decrease pollution but also cost jobs.

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