from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The science of human settlements, including city or community planning and design.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. the scientific study of human settlements, and the planning and design of cities and other communities
Of course this will require more of a simulationist bent to a virtual world computational or online ekistics?
Personally I'm looking forward to being able to seeing what different civic models emerge once we support those beyond the static "guild" system, and of being able to study a wide variety of phenomena under the little-known umbrella of ekistics in ways that simply cannot be approached in the physical world.
One useful antecedent for MMOG studies (as opposed to the more general and problematic 'game studies') could be ekistics (see also this link among others), which has been called "the study of human settlements."