Help us raise $20,000 to celebrate 20 years. For a limited time, your donation is matched!Donate

New Online Game Lets You Build Your Own Affordable Housing in NYC

Ready to play god with real estate?

(Photo by Jim Henderson)

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

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.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

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.

Follow Jenn .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: new york cityaffordable housingreal estatetaxes

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1014 other sustainers such as:

  • Shara in Hutchinson, KS at $10/Month
  • Kristin in Rockaway Beach, OR at $30/Year
  • Saskia in Frankfort, MI at $60/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine