SmartCity - Municipality
In the game, the groups take over the management of a small city. They need to create a strategy for the city, set goals, analyze information and make decisions. The goal of the game: to lead the city in the most effective way. Leading effectively means considering four important aspects: high-quality community services, management of community finances (indebtedness), keeping the public servants of the city satisfied, being entrepreneur-friendly. There are three types of decisions in the game: the periodic decisions of the management of the city, the project-type decisions of the management of the city and developments, and the “decisions” of the state laws and the environment/market participants, and their effects.
In the game, you can make decisions in 6 fields concerning the wages, development aids, and the fees of public services. Players can levy different taxes, from which the money can be used to buy shares, bonds, and government bonds as the management of the city. If the money collected from taxes is not enough, it is also possible to get short and long-term loans. Apart from these, there are 36 interesting projects in the game. A couple examples: building a beltway, an industrial park, a new school, a new kindergarten, a new nursery, development of residential areas, public community work programs, transforming different municipal office organizations into companies, and other opportunities that challenge the knowledge of the students.
In short, the goal of the simulation is to show the results of different alternative decisions without the consequences and costs that occur in real life. The main purpose of educational games, like this one, is to present various concepts, techniques, and decision-making processes, and make the students learn and practice these. The simulation of public administration at a municipal level requires a special approach. While companies as economic units have similar goals and economic operation, there are special aspects to consider in the case of local governments.
How SmartCity simulation software works:
- The students form groups and take over the management of the virtual city created by the simulation software.
- The virtual city is governed by making strategic decisions for annual periods.
- The software gives a written feedback about the results of the decisions.
- The software settings can be modified in various ways based on different demands, costs of projects, fluctuation and a number of other factors.
- The software can simulate up to 8 periods.
Advantages and learning points:
- The software presents the various management decisions like basic economic activities, the strategic points of operating a company, but also highly specific situations.
- It shows the connection between traditional economic decisions and the performance of a small city.
- The software is sufficiently complex to use and put into practice the knowledge of students close to finishing their studies.
- The game challenges and develops analytical skills, as students are required to find the data they need from various financial and institutional reports (for example community and government data, data of the institutions of the city, cash flow, financial statements).
- As a result, just like in real life, effective teamwork is essential to successfully complete the game.