2019 National Planning Conference

Land Development Game (PLUS)

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 2:45 p.m. - Saturday, April 13, 2019, 5:15 p.m. PDT

CM | 2.50

Activity Type: Deep Dive Sessions

Activity ID: NPC199003

Location: 2018

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  • Understand how land and housing markets work.
  • Consider the market impact of development regulations.
  • Understand the impact of an inclusionary housing requirement.


This game helps players understand land and housing markets and the interdependencies among the various stakeholders. The results highlight market failure and the results of market intervention. Depending upon the games’ outcomes these aspects of real world markets may be illustrated: real estate bubbles, exclusionary housing, and wealth concentration.
Planners implement, influence, or set land-use regulations. The effects of these regulations may have unintended side effects because of the operation of land and real estate markets. For example, a new land fee might cause lower profits for developers or higher housing prices. Playing this game, learn to think strategically about such potential effects.
PLUS (Price and Land Use Transactions game) simulates three markets: undeveloped land, developed land, and housing. Through an auction, the players (land owners, developers, and low-, middle- or high-income households) attempt to build housing and/or make profits. In the first round of play, there is no government. When time is called, the moderator facilitates a discussion. In the second round of play, a government is introduced that levies a density tax and imposes a requirement for inclusionary housing. A second moderator facilitates a discussion that compares the two outcomes.

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Session Speakers

Amy A. Cotter
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Cambridge, MA

Daphne Kenyon
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Cambridge, MA

Carlos Morales-Schechinger
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Institute for Housing and Urban Develop