Seeking planning permission to build a Gothic cathedral in a virtual world: exploring the schommunity

Gillen, Julia; Ferguson, Rebecca; Clough, Gill; Peachey, Anna and Twining, Peter (2012). Seeking planning permission to build a Gothic cathedral in a virtual world: exploring the schommunity. In: Merchant, Guy; Gillen, Julia; Marsh, Jackie and Davies, Julia eds. Virtual Literacies: Interactive Spaces for Children and Young People. Routledge Research in Education. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 190–207.

Abstract

Schome Park was a virtual island, set in the middle of a sunlit sea beyond which none of its inhabitants could wander. Like all islands, it had a limited set of resources and so the islanders had worked out a system of local governance for allocating these. Most prized was permission to use prims, a kind of all-purpose material, to construct an exciting new building, perhaps the site for an event or new community facility - a club, a cooperative store, garden, race track, restaurant, or something equally appealing. One day, a newcomer who had recently landed from the U.S. onto this island, dominated by Brits, approached the planning permission committee. Carefully observant of legal and procedural niceties, he set out his request, in writing, as required. He wanted to build a Gothic cathedral. In many old-timers' views, this was a bad idea, something that threatened the community's history and ethos, perhaps to the core. A lively debate ensued.

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