City Projects

Minniapple Game

Welcome to a meeting of the Miniapple City Council. Like any city council, you are divided into factions based on the areas of the city from which you have been elected and whose point of view you represent in the council.

Miniapple is divided into six wards. Each ward has unique socio-economic and physical characteristics which can be described as follows:

Ward I: The old deteriorated downtown and residential slum. The downtown, or “Central Business District” (CBD for short) is in bad shape needing new investment in the form of loans for new businesses and improvements of infrastructure. The people who live around the CBD occupy old apartments and single family homes converted into rooming houses. The residents are primarily elderly and low-income families. The majority of the public housing units in the city are in Ward I. Obviously, there is a need for housing rehabilitation, better schools and services, and playgrounds.

Ward II: “Blue Collar” (working class) neighborhood that includes the major factory in the city. The factory is a real stinker that pollutes the air in Ward II and causes constant noise. The housing in the ward is single family detached but is old and deteriorated. Ward II has a large number of public housing units, second only to Ward I. There are inadequate schools, parks, and the streets need repair.

Ward III: Incumbent Upgrader neighborhood with a mixture of middle class and working people.  “Incumbent upgraders” are people who have always lived in the neighborhood and are trying to keep it up.  They are very proud of their housing and have spent large amounts to fix them up. Most of the housing is single family and was built after World War II. Their main concern is "keeping the neighborhood" nice and improving a neighborhood commercial district.

Ward IV: Gentrification Neighborhood. These are young professionals (upper-middle class, or “gentry”) who have moved back to the city and are fixing up old historic homes. They have put a lot of time and energy (not to mention dollars) in preserving the city's only historic district and they want to protect their investment.

Ward V: Upper Middle Class Neighborhood consisting of businessmen. This ward has new homes (built in 1980's and 1990's) with large, well maintained yards. The schools are very good and most of the city parks are in this area.

Ward VI: Upper Class Neighborhood. Inhabitants are doctors, lawyers and bankers with big bucks! The homes are all over one acre and are very luxurious.

Physical Characteristics of Miniapple

Miniapple is a river town. The eastern side of the river (Wards I, II, & III) are in the flood plain while the western side (Wards IV, V & VI) are either on the bluffs or on top of the bluffs above the flood plain. The original settlement of the city was in Ward I and IV. Ward VI has the best views of river valley while Wards I & II have the most problems with flooding.

Issue before the Council

Today, you are attending a special meeting of the Council to consider the Fair Housing Plan developed by the Planning Dept. and to decide whether to accept the plan as proposed or to modify it.

The Fair Housing Plan

The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has notified Miniapple that it will not receive any more housing and community development funds unless it develops a plan for spreading low-income family housing throughout the city. The HUD guidelines require that these family units be duplexes and 4-plexes and that they be "scattered site" or located in those wards that have not previously had subsidized housing. Since all of the public housing now exist in Wards I and II, the Planning Dept. devised the following "fair share plan" for the 200 units HUD allocated the city:

Ward I-no units Ward IV-35 units

Ward 11-25 units Ward V-50 units

Ward 111-40 units Ward VI-50 units

Presentations at the Council Meeting

Following the presentation of the Planning Director of the Fair Housing Plan, the next person who got up to speak to the Council was the Mayor. The Mayor lives in Ward V and he understands the strong pressure that is being applied against the plan but he endorses the plan because it is the "best we can get" and calls on all his "friends" in Ward V who helped him get elected to support this plan. The next speaker was the union president from Ward II-she thinks this is a good plan because it will make wards V and VI take a share of public housing because up to now it has all been in ward I and II. Finally, the representatives from the powerful neighborhood organizations in each ward get up and present their positions on the plan:

Ward I--Thinks the plan is great! Too many poor people are concentrated in this ward and "they have a chance to enjoy the fresh air and good schools out in wards V & VI."

Ward II--Support the plan because other wards will not be forced to take public housing but will oppose it if "through wheeling and dealing, wards V & VI do not have to take their 50 units each."

Ward III--Oppose the plan because they believe 40 units is too much for their neighborhood. They have put in a lot of money fixing up the housing in their area and fear that this large number of units will "lower property values and discourage other folks from fixing up their homes."

Ward IV--They oppose the plan because they want to save the historic homes in their area and do not see how you can build 35 units and still do this.

Wards V and VI--Strongly oppose the plan! They have hired an attorney who argues it makes no sense to build public housing in these wards where land costs are so expensive and where low-income people would be too far from jobs and social services. They threaten to sue the city if plan is adopted.

Council Task

The council decides to break into ward caucus meetings. Each ward must consider the information it has heard and decide on three things:

  1. Is your position in favor or in opposition to plan,
  2. If you oppose, what is your alternative allocation plan? What are you willing to "give" to the other wards to get them to accept more units?
  3. If you favor the plan, what will you do to convince others to accept it or what would you expect in return for accepting more units in your ward?


After your ward members meet for 15 minutes, be prepared to report out to the council on your position on the above 3 points and to take a vote on the plan or a modification of the plan.

Assessment of the Game: As you began the game, you brought certain assumptions about the best solution and the most likely way the game would proceed.


Last Updated  2/25/05 by Tony Filipovitch