It’s a place where people travel to go, and each time they arrive they see an architectural work of beauty. This creation brings people together from a common community as well which creates a very interesting destination that would be very hard to recreate in the real world. What makes this virtual world project relevant though how it makes absolute sense, but can’t be easily replicable anywhere else.
This is not a commentary on Second Life (that’s one topic I’m not even getting close to), but I found it an interesting example of an alternative expression of community that is hard to emulate elsewhere besides in a virtual world. This project in Second Life is directly creating through architecture a community of like minded individuals… From the Second Life blog:
The overall direction for the project is to create a community of design oriented entities [the buildings], each connected to its Internet website, drawing traffic to and from the websites and Second Life. LOCUS will be a colony of virtual versions of websites that would encourage the meeting and interaction of website visitors. The intention is to strengthen the connection between SL [Second Life] and RL [Real Life] as well as to promote the sales of RL art and design services through the SL venue.
Some might find it cheesy to have a place where just bunch of buildings are put together to maybe try and make a sale, but I think the idea of drawing in people interested in art and design as a indirect goal is fascinating.
Outside of a virtual world we have only a limited set of tools as people to bring people together in the same way. Online people organize around websites, while usually the most functional, does lack that actual sense of space that large virtual buildings populated by other virtual people brings. Meanwhile real life brings a lot more limitations to duplicating this kind of freedom of environment.
In real life, buildings dedicated to a certain topic are rare. Art galleries and theaters are great, yet they aren’t designed or managed to behave like a bazaar, nor can they match that flexibility which free and open community spaces can bring.
All the stories I know of who have created a business on Second Life have all been businesses by individuals profiting of a service for other people. If people who use Second Life want the service to survive, bringing together the ideas of community and commerce more often, in other creative ways might be a powerful way of doing it.
Image from the Second Life Blog