Development Models for Virtual Cities

Béatrice Van Bastelaer, Claire Lobet-Maris

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This article focuses on the field of virtual cities and, more specifically, addresses the question of the existence of one or several development models for these cyber spaces, in other words models which underlie their social structure. This question, which is essentially theoretical in nature, was brought to the fore following observation of severa cases of cybercities in Europe and after having examined existing literature on the subject. Observation of these particular cases makes it possible to discern several broad trends, and to establish three principal development models: the blueprint model, the flexible model and the open model. These models reduce a certain number of uncertainties linked with the development of these cities and, more specifically perhaps, certain difficulties tied to managing these projects such as the instability of the technology, users' involvement in the projects' development and the virtual city's borders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalCommunications & Stratégies
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • development model
  • digital cities
  • case study


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