That’s right. To help spur economic growth in their community the city leaders in Decatur, Georgia area creating an online virtual version of their city on Second Life.
Because I’m sure that’s just what those in Decatur who are struggling with economic downturn want. Their tax dollars spent on a video game.
The virtual city, or “Virtual Decatur” as the fine elected officials of Decatur are calling it, would be a networking hub for the city as part of a greater overall effort to boost the economy.
Virtual Decatur is only in the planning stages, but designers have already listed a number of MMO-type qualities they’d like to see implemented. There would be custom avatars and chatting, like there is in any number of MMOs today, but in Virtual Decatur the residents, non-residents and government officials would bear certain marks, so that they’d be easily distinguishable from one another. Business owners would have the option of a virtual storefront if they donated to the city.
The virtual world would also boast achievements (GovBlago2213, You’ve unlocked a senate seat!). Back in the real world, these achievement points could be turned into coupons or discounts for participating businesses.
Other Virtual Decatur features could include:
• Opportunities to gather citizen input on policies, topics of interest, city services, and happenings
• A Virtual City Hall Tour with multimedia capabilities.
• Streaming video of public meetings, ideally with a chat room feature that allows viewers to comment.
• Access to visitors information (store hours, directions, weather, etc.)
I’ve born witness to some pretty sillly moments in economic development history, but this one takes the cake.
The whole idea of keeping taxes high so that politicians can spend the revenue on “developing” the economy is bogus to begin with, but spending those tax dollars on a video game takes a special kind of stupid.