This week, Citizens Housing & Planning Council launched an online tool that shows players what it takes to develop a new apartment building in New York City.
With “Inside the Rent,” players select from one of 14 neighborhoods, and control construction costs by choosing options related to wages for workers and amenities. You also pick what rent you want to charge.
As Curbed explains:
Throughout the game, your rental price will be compared to the costs (per tenant) you’ve accrued because of the various choices you make regarding the development of your building, including the neighborhood selection. … If your costs exceed the rent, you can choose either just to up the rent (effectively giving up) or to add in government subsidies.
Though reps from CHPC admit the game stretches a bit from the actual dollars and cents of NYC real estate, the interactive tool is really meant to get people — and politicians — to think about housing policy. As Curbed points out, “not enough people know exactly how construction costs and rent relate to each other — and this includes those who are making crucial decisions on housing policy.”
According to the game, I do not have a bright future in real estate development:
(Credit: Citizens Housing & Planning Council)
Maybe you will fare better than I. You can play here.
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.