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Globe picks up Hub2 story

Hub2 grabbed front page coverage today (slow day for the Globe, apparently). The article necessarily, but unfortunately, takes off with the gee-whiz breathlessness typical of most mainstream coverage of virtual worlds. Unfortunate, in part, because it seems to premise the value of virtual worlds on their novelty — which inevitably fades — rather than their unique capabilities. Unfortunate, more importantly, because the exotic spin makes our project seem alien rather than intended to weave into Boston’s grassroots civic life.

Still, readers who make it through the setup do get an accurate description of the project:

Oates and other city officials, working with Emerson College, are hoping to have a prototype within the next six months that would be designed with the help of students taking an Emerson course called Hub2. A version of the course will be also offered to nonstudents. The students are to meet with community organizers, school teachers, and residents to develop a design proposal that they will build in Second Life. Students will be encouraged to reimagine parts of the city, for instance adding more parks or finding ways to make Downtown Crossing more lively.

Certainly any publicity is good publicity, and I’m happy that the Globe and Matt Viser have helped us get the word out about our project.

Edit: I should correct some of the inaccuracies of the article’s photo captions. Rodica Buzescu created the Weeks Memorial Footbridge on Berkman Island, not I. Also, I don’t teach internet law at Harvard nor have any immediate plans to do so.

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