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Real Life SimCity

Posted on March 29, 2018


Right Now w/ Zach Navin  (LinkedIn / Twitter)

What I’m Reading Invisibles- David Zweig

What I’m Watching – NHL Playoff Hockey

What I’m Doing – Prepping for Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day

What I’m listening to– Slowburn: a podcast about Watergate


Every so often I get excited about big picture ideas that I’ve had. Particularly a business idea of mine. I’ll write down ideas about how it would work, potential roadblocks, and partnership possibilities. After a week or so my excitement fades and I forget about it for a while.
Well, I’ve got a fun new obsession. Recently I’ve read two articles about starting a new city; How to Start Your Own City and India’s GIFT City. I ignored the reasons these cities were created and began brainstorming what MY city might look like, how it would operate, and what would be its driving forces towards success.

As I imagined what it would be like to start a new city in the middle of Georgia (as was done in Stonecrest) I started to think about all the necessities, from a Public Works perspective, streets, water, electric, refuse, and then I thought to myself, why recreate the wheel? I would contract the work out to companies already doing the work, at least for a few years until this new city was settled in. The idea of outsourcing was in direct opposition to my Master’s capstone paper arguing for city services over private services.
Then I remembered the notorious catch-22 of Public Works…. tribal knowledge. This knowledge plays out when a younger staffer asks an older staffer about something that happened in 1958. As luck would have it, the older staffer doesn’t know the answer but he knows who does… the recently retired staffer who didn’t leave his contact information when he retired. Tribal knowledge can be a pain in the butt. It also hampers my thought of starting a new city or department with entirely new staff.
To be fair, I didn’t investigate the situation in Georgia. I just let my mind run wild. As this work had been done before, for example, in India, where the State of Gujarat bought an 886 acre parcel of land and created a city.

Think of the possibilities, you get a 1.38 square mile piece of property to design your own real-life SimCity. You might be a real-life version of the Oregon Trail where you set up shop and start your new life.
ELGL members have talked about how cool it would be to fill a city with motivated ELGL members who are committed to creating real change in local government. (Spoiler: it would be the best city on Earth.)
If you could start a city from scratch, what would it look like. You hire each individual that will work for the city, you create every policy and contract. Would your city thrive off tourism or would you recruit HQ2? Maybe you’d be a financial hub like the new city of GIFT. No matter what, the city has to be named Pawnee right? Maybe Zachsville, that seems to have a good ring to it too.
Tweet me the name of your city and what makes it special.
TL;DR: If you had the opportunity to start your own city from the ground up, what would you do to make it the best city in the world?

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