Real Estate Vacancy Game

From September to November 2015, the gamelab helped creating the game Meter for Meter (Meter voor Meter) to assess the effects of introducing of removing certificates in the Netherlands. This board game was commissioned by Platform31 and developed together with Procap.

In 2014 around 17% of the office surfaces were empty, which represents 14,3 million m2 of empty areas. Empty offices leads to deterioration of the public space and an unhealthy market for office buildings. A new policy instrument to solve this, is the introduction of removing certificates. Removing certificates should help shift the high amount of office real estate vacancy in the Netherlands to a more healthy ratio with more used buildings. The general concept of removing certificates is that players who demolish offices receive removing certificates, while players who wants to build new offices need removing certificates.  A healthy market should arise in those removing certificates, stimulating the process of removing (or transforming) empty buildings.

The players operate in a virtual municipality with the name Zwouten and represent the municipality and a couple of real estate developers. This city consists of several parcels used or reserved for business offices. Some of the offices are empty and of low quality, while others are good and fully rented. In general, the municipality would like to upgrade their city by removing the poor quality offices and transform the use of the parcels to recreation, houses and shops. The real estate developers sees a lower value for their property and would like to increase the value however taken the costs into account. Using the system of removing certificates, distributed and managed by the municipality, players have the objective to place clients in new or transformed buildings.

The game functioned both as a test of the system itself and as publicity towards other parties in the field of office real estate. The sessions showed that the system itself could work and reach the goals, however also several questions pop up, which need to be further analysed.