For almost six years straight you’ve been the owner of an “idyllic” coastal area in SL, surrounded by water, sand, and friendly neighbors, none of which have ever ruined you a beach party. Not even that renter over there, whose tenants have always kept the same fitting vibe. They’re so sympathetic that they even let you rezz your boat on their side of the world whenever your plot is –as per usual– lacking resources.
There couldn’t be a better place than this.
All that inconceivable harmony existed until this week, though, when an outsider bought the last spot that became available one night, and unexpectedly also claimed all the abandoned land in two adjoining sims. Yes, the lots that have been empty for four years now house an immeasurable airfield complex that stretches two sims and violently corrupts your countryside. Now, from its origin as a tranquil community, the neighborhood has turned to a grey mass of humongous walls on top of which sits a collection of “brick and mortar” hangars for rent.
There’s nothing you can do about it, I’m afraid. This is mainland, and on that mass of land controlled by the linden$, you, and your neighbors, can build whatever you want. It’s always been like that. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been living in the same spot for six years, nobody cares if you and your friends have kept some outstanding living standards way above the norm. Whoever comes after and pays the land can do whatever they please, even if it kills your vicinity and devalues your property –especially when the newcomer holds more land than you do. The Lindens don’t care that your piece of virtual real estate represents an investment to you, that you paid for it with real money, and least of all that you may have created an emotional attachment, have given it a meaning even when it’s not a tangible thing. None of that matters at all.
Now you’re hearing in your mind that classic mantra repeating on and on: your rights end where mine begin. Yes, in SL your rights end at your parcel limits. As in RL actually, only that in RL there’s usually something called zoning, a planning strategy that, when implemented, tries to keep a balance between different land uses.
Most, if not all, private estates in SL, regardless of their size, put into practice some sort of zoning to keep their clients and the overall environment functioning in an attractive way. Attractive here means not only good-looking, but alluring, able to capture the attention of potential customers and retaining existing tenants in good terms. Retention is not achieved by instituting maturity ratings that only serve, according to SL’s Knowledge Base, to “designate the type of content and behavior allowed in a region.” That may help to control access to certain places in an optative way, but in more successful estates, this kind of division is, at best, secondary.
In the beginning, when all that mattered was to attract hordes of people to SL, zoning may have been fatal to mainland. In time, even the Lindens saw the reigning chaos was discouraging and created Linden Homes, themed residential communities that everybody seems to praise a lot. That undoubtedly proved to be a success.
Today, when SL growth is on a standstill (for most residents it’s clearly declining), retaining users should be a better choice. In this case, zoning may help maintain long standing communities healthy, though it may probably be too late: working on an already developed region would indeed be a difficult task. That may have been the reason why previous propositions never prospered, and why there’s now a huge airfield where once there was a homey countryside.
Back in February, I put a 512 sq.m. plot in that sim up for sale. At 3500L, it may have been a bargain since it sold within an hour. Today, the guy who bought the land is trying to sell a parcel twice that size for 1200L. The reason? To escape the airfield. Will he look for a place somewhere else? I really don’t know. For what I can tell right now LL is losing a client that has been paying his rights since 2009 (and may well be paying still for the foreseeable future), in exchange of someone who may only survive the summer. Today, that’s usually the case with most large-scale projects in the mainland: a season at best.
Thanks to programmers, there’s Derender + Blacklist to deal with this mess. At least, it’s an effective way to recover the lost horizon and the fake sea waves.