Welcome to Virtual Edmonton
October 27, 2010
The City of Edmonton is now online in Second Life, opening new doors for public involvement, sharing, collaborating, experimenting and testing innovative ideas. Edmonton is one of the first Canadian Cities to create a Second Life presence.
Initially started as a gaming environment, Second Life is now the home to major agencies such as NASA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Second Life is a versatile online tool that can help expand opportunities to gain public input,” says Chris Moore, Chief Information Officer for the City of Edmonton. “We’re always looking for innovative new ways to do business, and this is one of the newest.”
“The possibilities for using Second Life to collaborate with other cities and experts are limitless and it’s a secure and economical way to experiment with new ways of doing things,” adds Moore. “For example, we’re partnering with the University of Alberta to do a study on the differences between business and personal avatars.”
Virtual Edmonton is divided into four zones:
- Civic, which includes City Hall and connections to other virtual cities.
- Culture, which includes the Muttart Conservatory.
- The community zone, where users can find links to organizations, nonprofits and educational institutions.
- Commerce, a hub for businesses modelled after Jasper Avenue.
Second Life has been called 'serious gaming' because it creates the opportunity for real business in an engaging and fun environment. Individuals create 'avatars' to interact within the virtual world, based around simple geometric shapes that allows users to build virtual objects. By the beginning of 2010, Second Life had 18 million registered accounts.
"Our new virtual presence isn't just for people currently in Second Life," says Moore. "It's also for new users. When they visit Virtual Edmonton, we want them to be able to navigate in the space very quickly, get to know us better and start making connections that they can take back to the real world."