The STL Lab has engaged the services of MIT’s Game Lab to create a real estate game as part of the Mission Curriculum. The prime objective of the educational game is to introduce the concept of socially responsible real estate entrepreneurship to young students between the ages of 16 and 22. The core message of the game is to demonstrate that the best strategy for maximizing long-term profit from investing in real estate is to invest adequately in public goods. In order to create an ideal vision of future real estate development in Chinese cities, the rules of the game are promoting socially responsible real estate practices with variables that are specific to the Chinese real estate market.
If a game player wants to maximize short-term profit and build substandard public infrastructure, her/his products will experience a slow growth in price as homebuyers shift their purchase to other neighborhoods where public services and other amenities are of higher quality. When man-made or natural disasters such as epidemic diseases or flooding strike a neighborhood, the investment will be at risk due to the loss of property value. However, if a player invests in a socially responsible manner, s/he will be rewarded by gaining “reputational points” which give the player a competitive advantage over other developers to access land for future property development.
On December 22, 2015, Dr. Yu-Hung Hong, Director of the STL Lab, Professor David Geltner of MIT Center for Real Estate, and students from MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Harvard Graduate School of Design visited MIT Game Lab for an experimental session coordinated by the Game Lab and STL Lab. This two hour trial featured a relatively mature board game prototype on real estate development in China that has been developed by the two labs. Participants responded positively to the prototype and provided insightful feedback both during and after the session.