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OcramsRzr

Idea Suggestion: More Wealth Levels

38 posts in this topic

I have been thinking about this for a long time and have discussed this a little here but more elsewhere. Why stick to just 3 wealth levels? Even the new SimCity has homeless sims and Cities XL has 4 wealth levels. In the United States, there are 6 distinct wealth levels divided into the 5 quintilles plus the top 1%.

 

The bottom quintille lives at or below poverty level and does not pay income tax. In the game, these could be represented as the homeless, squatters, people living in public housing, and also a small amount in the least desirable (and least expensive) housing.

 

The second quintille is "working poor." They are above poverty but are only one missed check away from poverty. These would correspond to R$ in SimCity francise or Cities XL (R$ in City Life looks more like bottom quintille).

 

The third quintille is the middle class (or lower-middle class). They are skilled, educated, and/or qualified workers. They typically are the most common workers in the desirable businesses.

 

The fourth quintille is the upper-middle class or lower-upper class. These are your millionaires. They work in management positions (and sometimes as typical workers in your wealthiest, most high-tech businesses).

 

The fifth quintille, minus the top 1% (so the top 80-99%) would be your billionaires and multimillionaires. They have the highest taxable income but also make income that the city cannot tax. These are your executives, successful politicians, and typical celebrities. They are only hired in medium or high density, high wealth or high tech businesses in small amounts. You would need a certain amount of these people before you can get the big money moving in.

 

The top 1% (which deserves a point of its own because the top 1% earners have at least as much money as the next 20% combined) would be your multibillionaires. In BoomTown, they would be Keystone Elite Residential, with special conditions for unlocking. I would say that a reasonable unlock would be have regional upper class workers (multimillionaires) as exceeding population of 10,000 to 30,000, and there to be at least 1 free job available for them (which would only be available in high density CO$$$ and fully upgraded headquarters (except maybe lumber or mining)), and the zone/empty lot can only be placed in an area that is already desirable for that (multimillionaire, which is right below keystone elite, top 1%) wealth level. If they move into a lot, they will raise the land value for the whole neighborhood (so it doesn't instantly abandon if it barely meets the requirements).

 

What do you think?

--Ocram

Moerp, Dr-Beakman and Bolduck91 like this

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I think it's a good idea. This system would probably be a bit more complex and rewarding than the SC4 system

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I think the KISMIF principle should be employed in all development projects.

spindash_st likes this

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Typical city playing where the player runs a successful city without abandoned buildings and without placing/zoning/designating areas for the ultra wealthy (and having no free zones where squatters can move to) will lead to a game with only the 2nd, 3rd, and possibly 4th and 5th quintille. This would correspond with SimCity and Cities XL wealth demographics (the 4th tier in Cities XL is wealthier than R$$$ in the SimCity franchise). It should be possible to even have a city with only 1 or 2 wealth levels and regions with only 2 wealth levels (those being the 20% to 60% earners (unskilled laborers skilled workers).

The rest of the wealth levels would be uncommon unless the player deliberately plans for or coaxes them.

--Ocram

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Technically all u need to do is have the complete spectrum and refer to citizens as say paupers if they earn less than x per y and tycoons if they earn more than x per y etc. Wealth levels in reality arent solid bordered clubs they are contiguous.

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I haven't thought much about wealth classes yet.

I'm sure that there will be an emergent continuum of different levels of wealth.

 

How you want to divide them into categories for taxation will probably be left to the player.

How wealth classes will interact, I'm also not completely sure about yet.

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Right, I have been thinking.  How realistic is it for a game to ask the player to lay zones according to wealth?  Don't market forces usually decide the wealth level of the businesses or the households living in an area?  If a real life mayor tried to zone a low wealth area near a load of wonderful amenities and great schools, wouldn't the wealthy soon offer more money to buy the homes than the poorer people could and turn it into a wealthy area???  That would leave the area you designated as the wealthy area empty and house prices would plummet, turning it into a poor zone.

 

So is there a point in thinking outside the normal zoning bands and looking for something more organic?  I mean, just zone industrial/commercial/residential etc and maybe density - which are all things a mayor can regulate, but leave wealth levels out of the options for zoning?

Compdude787 and heat33330 like this

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Right, I have been thinking.  How realistic is it for a game to ask the player to lay zones according to wealth?  Don't market forces usually decide the wealth level of the businesses or the households living in an area?  If a real life mayor tried to zone a low wealth area near a load of wonderful amenities and great schools, wouldn't the wealthy soon offer more money to buy the homes than the poorer people could and turn it into a wealthy area???  That would leave the area you designated as the wealthy area empty and house prices would plummet, turning it into a poor zone.

 

So is there a point in thinking outside the normal zoning bands and looking for something more organic?  I mean, just zone industrial/commercial/residential etc and maybe density - which are all things a mayor can regulate, but leave wealth levels out of the options for zoning?

Motion Seconded.

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^ I'd vote for that.

 

Only density might matter.  Perhaps as an add-on later there can be zoning variances to permit things like mixed use and basement apartments.

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Right, I have been thinking.  How realistic is it for a game to ask the player to lay zones according to wealth?  Don't market forces usually decide the wealth level of the businesses or the households living in an area?  If a real life mayor tried to zone a low wealth area near a load of wonderful amenities and great schools, wouldn't the wealthy soon offer more money to buy the homes than the poorer people could and turn it into a wealthy area???  That would leave the area you designated as the wealthy area empty and house prices would plummet, turning it into a poor zone.

 

So is there a point in thinking outside the normal zoning bands and looking for something more organic?  I mean, just zone industrial/commercial/residential etc and maybe density - which are all things a mayor can regulate, but leave wealth levels out of the options for zoning?

 

Zoning density, even in a more precise way than in SC4, as I suggested in the thread I started, is surely necessary, unless one is happy to see a constant chaos of different volumes, or an equally constant trend towards high-rise buildings. Not zoning wealth may work well, as long as the game keeps it realistic and doesn't allow a whole large map to turn high-wealth in time, as SC4 does.

Compdude787 likes this

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SC4 is driven to a certain extent by the YUPPY  madness of the late 1990s in Silicon Valley.  The lot sizes are rather ridiculous.

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I'd have thought having a bit of polluting industry in your city would keep the wealthy out of at least those areas :)

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I don't think I suggested zoning for wealth level, only letting there be more variance in the wealth level of those that move in. I agree with Inge, I don't want to try to zone for wealth level. The wealth of those that move in should be decided by the desirability of the zone (and access to the appropriate services). However, I would like to have a Keystone Elite R$$$$$ top 1%, multi-billionaire mansion plot being the only plopped residential but it is special.

--Ocram

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Due to the fact its a game, first homeless doesn't count, that just means you don't have a proper home that is in some kind of built structure, you could be a janitor and still be homeless because you can't afford rent (bad example). For me it would be: Poverty | Lower Class | Middle Class | Upper Middle Class | Upper Class

 

One idea that has never been done in a city building game, have actual household wealth. Its complex but can be made to be not complex. For example, one house is lower class, so instead of adding the wage of the agents and stuff the computer just picks a random number that is lower class, like $20k or $30k. And even though wealth definitions vary by family size, its a game so thats not needed.

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Homeless should certainly exist. They would live in parks or just find a random spot to sleep.

Wealth should be citizen based not zone or building based. You zone to attract wealth but not to enforce it. Zoning should be eith two simple parameters type and density. No need for complexity. Part of the fun of the game is not knowing what will grow. You sow seeds but how they grow if at all depends on all sorts of things from weather to soil conditions. I love the gardening analogy.

If i want more control like a certain type of res say rowhouses then there should be an option to cover seeds with a cloche and use expensive plantfood etc but for basic gameplay we should just zone as in four with type and density.

I would like to see more things zoned like parks airports etc. I preferred zoning air and seaports ala 2000.

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if you want to build in RL, good luck telling the city it's a surprise, lol... but anyway, the idea of agents having a income attached to them and then proprieties have a wealth range.... now that's interesting...

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Actually, the new game Banished has a boarding house/bunk house for the homeless.  That game classes people only by profession and you can arbitrarily reassign people.

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Actually, I think that zone by wealth should be an OPTION, just like density. This all has to do with different planning policies in different countries. In countries like the UK or USA, there's not really a strict planning policy and there the market does the job. In the Netherlands, everything is planned, so the wealth type per area is pretty much uniform. That doesn't say that an area can't change wealth; impoverishment and gentrification also take place here.

 

What could also be a nice mechanism is that the attractiveness of an area for a certain wealth group is determined by their neighbouring wealth groups. In SimCity 4, it was quite possible to get mansions right next to a low wealth apartment block. I think wealth group attract the ones from similar wealth and repel wealth groups with low similarities. Rich people don't want to live next to poor people, and vice versa. This is quite a common form of segregation.

 

For wealth types, I have the following in mind

- Poor (people living from low wages or social subsidies)

- Below modal (people with a low salary, like factory workers, or people in supporting public jobs)

- Modal (people with an average salary, like office workers)

- Above modal (people with a high salary, like high-educated office workers or people with risky jobs)

- Elite (executives, directors, specialists or other people that earn an excessive salary)

 

Of these wealth types, it's easier to get in the lower categories than in the higher categories. The height of your wealth type is determined by your education and job. Healthcare and safety (both fire and crime) can stimulate wealth by reducing damage from diseases and disasters.

 

Anyway, those are my two cents.

Best,

Maarten

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There should be some kind of intersection between density and wealth.  In SC4 you get both.  Quite often you get low wealth tenements of fairly large extent, single family dwellings of moderate wealth, mansions, and fancy condos of high wealth.  So why not allow this kind of thing?

 

I agree that there needs to be a finer granularity in both aspects.

 

Oh, and there needs to be some balancing mechanism to prevent a monotonic city.

Compdude787 likes this

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in high rises, the low wealth apartments are at the bottom, mid in the middle and lofts on the roof... it's more then just A or B it's about ratios and proportions... 

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And yet, ground floor suites with patio entrances are often sought by more affluent persons.

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For politicians, they put themselve in middle income before they are elected, then as soon as they leave office we learn that they are multi-millionaires due to the deals they made while in office.

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All very cynical.  If you can believe some of the (not) very well researched stuff by Colleen McCullough, the subura had some very nice apartments in ancient Rome, as well as not so great apartments full of people and kids.

 

Even in Roman republican times, politicians who followed the cursus honorum had to be land owners and quite wealthy.  There is a story of one who committed suicide when his fortune dwindled to six million sesterces.  The only other way to political power was to become a tribune of the plebs.

 

Sports figures were, of course, the gladiators.  They were usually slaves owned by the lanistae, and very well cared for.  Death in the arena was unusual until later Empire times when most of the emperors were mad from heavy metal poisoning (they used sugar of lead to sweeten their wine.  Lead acetate is not good for anyone.)  The lanistae employed the best physicians and looked after any wounded men.

 

I don't think the Romans were great on theatre, and I have no feel for what the estate of those appearing in Greek theatre was in ancient times, but I have a feeling they were simply helots and not demes.

Urban Cartographer likes this

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All very cynical.  If you can believe some of the (not) very well researched stuff by Colleen McCullough, the subura had some very nice apartments in ancient Rome, as well as not so great apartments full of people and kids.

 

Even in Roman republican times, politicians who followed the cursus honorum had to be land owners and quite wealthy.  There is a story of one who committed suicide when his fortune dwindled to six million sesterces.  The only other way to political power was to become a tribune of the plebs.

 

Sports figures were, of course, the gladiators.  They were usually slaves owned by the lanistae, and very well cared for.  Death in the arena was unusual until later Empire times when most of the emperors were mad from heavy metal poisoning (they used sugar of lead to sweeten their wine.  Lead acetate is not good for anyone.)  The lanistae employed the best physicians and looked after any wounded men.

 

I don't think the Romans were great on theatre, and I have no feel for what the estate of those appearing in Greek theatre was in ancient times, but I have a feeling they were simply helots and not demes.

Interesting insight there on Roman culture, Nonny Moose.  What about the wealth levels of politicians, athletes, and entertainers (and media creators) during the present day?

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In Italy?  Most of the politicians are crooks and millionaires, athletes are overpaid illegal substance abusers, and the entertainers are no better than they should be.

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In Italy?  Most of the politicians are crooks and millionaires, athletes are overpaid illegal substance abusers, and the entertainers are no better than they should be.

 

You are clearly being ironic by saying the above only applies to Italy, aren't you? :)

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In Italy?  Most of the politicians are crooks and millionaires, athletes are overpaid illegal substance abusers, and the entertainers are no better than they should be.

 

You are clearly being ironic by saying the above only applies to Italy, aren't you? :)

 

Oh!  You noticed.

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sounds very complex and challenging to go into so much details

 

I wonder if each sim individual that was borne into the system will be numbered and track from birth to death, and what this sim does throughout his/her life cycle. will he have a house assign to him, a job assign to him, and so on, and how will he progress thru working on the mopping the factory floor, to becoming a supervisor of the factory, to perhaps buying the factory and owning the factory?

 

fascinating details if this game could achieve that.

 

on the contrary, the human player of this city/game is GOD so doesn't it means that every sim must do what this GOD tells them what to do, how this GOD want his subject sims to run this GOD's domain?

 

keep up the good works :)

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