Real estate students briefly turned bankers, municipal civil servants or project developers get involved in a mock process of site planning in the chapel at VHL Velp on Wednesday 28 April.
The game, known as Simlandscape, mimics the process of site planning. It has been developed for employees of the Government Service for Land and Water Management (DLG) to enable them to know more about what one another does. It's now played by students of Forest and Nature Management who take Real Estate and Land Transactions as a major or minor subject. A development plan for an area has been chosen. The students have to implement this plan. Just for a while, they are no longer students, but a land owner, municipal executive councillor, project developer or someone working in the town hall, the bank or the water board. Negotiations and conflict of interests are the order of the day.
'I'm not much one for games actually, but this is really fun', says land owner and town council opposition leader Rick Karsenbarg, who is a third year Forest and Nature Management student in real life. 'You should try to be the roles. But the interests are getting a bit mixed up at the moment. I am an opposition leader, but the municipality agrees with me from the word go.'
Maurits Elsevier Stokmans, one of the two project developers, comes dressed for the game in a suit. 'I have to make an impression on others, since I'm a project developer.' He is well-pleased with Simlandscape. 'This is Monopoly plus. We get to learn something about the dynamics during this process. It gives us some hands-on practice.'
Maurits finds it amusing that everyone lives in his role. 'We get carried away. We continue negotiating even during the breaks. But our own personalities show though. While one is an easy target, another tries to wring every last drop out.'
The enthusiasm with which the game is played makes this a successful first: the first time that Simlandscape is used at VHL. 'Students can apply the knowhow and skills which they have acquired during lessons', says lecturer Jan Jacob Dubbelhuis. 'Perhaps it can be used to teach other courses as well.