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New York's Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC) has released a virtual simulation that lets players take the reins on a hypothetical housing development project. Constructed with data from real-world developers and architects, Inside the Rent has players set a palate of prices and then try to break even.
According to its creators, the simulation is intended to be an educational platform, especially for politicians. A representative from CHPC emphasized that "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."
However, the relatively simple game doesn't quite mirror reality. "Sarah Watson and Daniel Parcerisas, both from the Citizens Housing & Planning Council, acknowledged that the game is oversimplified [...] For instance, the tax abatement option in the game doesn't correspond to the controversial 421-a program completely." In addition, "Parcerisas mentions that zoning is not a part of the game at all, and he hopes to incorporate it in future versions."