In Democracy 3: Africa, Urbanisation was modelled so aggressively that an Urban Overcrowding situation was buggedly unavoidable without tanking your own GDP. Democracy 4 has no such simulation, though I feel such a thing is central to carbon neutralisation. What follows is a dreamy collection of hypothetical policies centring around deurbanisation, bleeding into libertarian self-ownership rhetoric and solarpunk musings.
I also refer to the hypothetical Distributed Economy situation, which describes a more grassroots, decentralised market with few barriers to entry.
Urban Greening - The budget for city parks, including street trees, flower plots & window planting. As well as experimental works like green walls and garden roofs. (Small bump to environment and health while combating respiratory disease.)
Greenbuilding Initiative - A sweeping green architecture construction campaign, creating accommodations for innovative city structure design such as earthscrapers and vertical forest skyscrapers resulting in striking corporate annexes constructed with futuristic green technology and cutting edge energy-efficient technology. (Costly, but combats Urbanization, aids environment and has marginal effects to Tourism, Business Confidence, Energy Efficiency, and Strong Leader. Disincentivises Environmental Protests)
City Property Tax - A distinct tax on property owned in urbanized areas. (Combats Urbanisation, upsets Capitalists.)
Compulsory Rainwater Collectors - Requires buildings to possess rainwater recycling systems which clean reclaimed water to a potable standard and reintroduce it for local use. (Operates similarly to Compulsory Water Meters.)
Neo-ruralisation: (These make the Rural Tranquility achievement possible without feudalising your state.)
Conservation Areas - Legally protects areas of natural beauty from development or deforestation, running them as for-profit national parks. (Aids environment and environmentalists. Upsets Capitalists and to a lesser extent Farmers. Reduces Unemployment while providing a respectable Tourism boost.)
Indigenous Conservation Areas - (Exclusive to America, Canada & Australia, this policy is identical, with the following addition:) These resort businesses are owned and run by indigenous communities, though they employ liberally. (Makes Ethnic Minorities happy.)
Agroforestry Organisation - A trade body selling agricultural contracts for forested areas to farming specialists making use of alley cropping, increasing the amount of farmable land and incentivising forest preservation. (Pleases farmers and reduces the cost of Reforestation)
Rural Homebuying Incentives - Makes home buying cheaper in rural areas, settling more people in the countryside, bringing money and opportunity into the region. (Behaves similarly to rural development grants, while reducing Commuter membership and Urbanisation. ((Tiny contribution to Distributed Economy)))
Microagriculture Grants - Incentives for rural homeowners to invest in and operate small agricultural businesses on their own land, or in communally owned plots. (Increases Farmers & Self-Employed membership. It increases Self-Employed happiness, but Farmers themselves are indifferent due to mixed feelings. Directly pleases Middle-Earners while contributing to worker’s communes ((and Distributed Economy))) while reducing food cost.)
3D Printing Subsidies - Simplifies and cheapens the purchase of 3D printing technology for entrepreneurs and small businesses. (Pleases Socialists, the Self-Employed, and Middle-Earners. Reduces GDP ((but contributes to Distributed Economy which increases GDP))
Coworking Initiative - Funding for remote office space, allowing businesses to affordably and effectively employ across greater distances. (Reduces Unemployment and Rail/Bus/Car travel while pleasing the Self-Employed and shrinking the Commuter group. Increases Foreign Investment, with a tiny bump to International Trade. Public Libraries reduce the cost of this policy, as they are utilised as part of the initiative. Reduces Contagious Disease Situation)
These neo-farming policies would require Food Standards and Antibody Ban to piss Farmers off worse to make up the difference, and reflect the difficulty for microfarmers to meet standardisation requirements.
Actual Solarpunk Junk
Hydrogen Fuels Pioneer situation - Clean Fuel and Biofuel funding alongside high science, bus & rail usage have led to the discovery of competative Hydrogen Fuels, revolutionising industry, and enabling market leadership. (Reduces the Environment effects of Car & Air Travel as well as a small amount of the GDP’s negative Environmental effects. Makes Space & Mars Programs slightly cheaper. Adds to GDP.)
Climate Defence Force - Orders a new support wing of the military devoted to defending against climate events domestic and global. Military engineers aid the construction of externally funded sea walls, flood mitigation systems, and reforestation initiatives, while specialists train for the event of rapid evacuation and restabilization of climate disasters. (Has a marginal Environment effect, but mainly fights hurricanes, wildfires, blackouts, earthquakes, sea-level rise, flooding etc. Increases Foreign Relations. Military Spending reduces its cost.)
To hypothesize ever more fancifully; multiple climate change disaster effects as those combatted by the Climate Defence Force being in effect could contribute to an Emergency Powers level disaster in the Climate Apocalypse situation which can be uniquely fought if your citizens possess their own means to personally and communally feed, power, and manufacture via microagriculture, mandatory microgeneration, and 3D printing.
First, Urban Overcrowding could be solved with max state housing.
While they may seem more enviromentally friendly deurbanisation policies can be counter productive, bigger isolate houses are more energy intensive than flat buildings, also flats tend to be smaller, making them even if them have the same energy use per area, more energy efficient. Also infraestructure in urban areas is more efficient and alternative ways of transport, even for goods could be made (think of pneumatic tubes). Greening cities could be a great way of promoting a better place to live and green infraestructure can even be cheaper than conventional one, but don’t think that fighting urbanization is the key to solve the environment, or we are going to end with more forest destroyed to make room for sprawl.
Now on some of the policies:
Urban Greening Should also increase energy efficency, because if well done it could reduce the need for air cooling in summer without increasing the need for heating in winter.
City Property Tax Seems redundant
Rural Homebuying Incentives See the previous rant
Microagriculture Grants Would increase the demand for land, making that, in the end, food may be more expensive.
3D Printing Subsidies Why should it please socialists?
Hydrogen Fuels Pioneer situation We have been hearing about the hydrogen economy for a long time, do you know why we aren’t in this kind of economy? Because creating hydrogen is a energy intensive process that can’t beat bateries in efficiency (around 30% vs around 70%), and also because before starting making fuels we would have to substitute grey hydrogen (from fossil fuels) for green hydrogen (electrolyzed form water and derived from organic matter) in the ammonia industry.
The direction here was primarily to open up the natural world to a larger span of people and making rural living more affordable in the better connected world of the future. It makes perfect sense how that could be counter-intuitive, what with more transportation required to connect everything, but the logic was putting people closer to nature in sustainable, self-sufficient ways in the wake of ever expanding cities packing more and more people into smaller and smaller pens.
Microagriculture incentives could conceivably increase land demand, but I’m talking about supporting personal plots here. Growing mushrooms in stacks in your basement, reusable hydroponic systems, or keeping chickens in your back garden, etc. The market for these goods, if any existed, would be tiny and localised, providing for the grower, and distributing a market by a thousand cuts.
3D printing, in concept, tickles socialists because it offers access to a fairly advanced means of production. This technology has the potential to revolutionize consumer economics and disrupt markets to stimulate exponential competition.
With hydrogen we’re talking late-game 2040 stuff, in line with predictions
Let’s just asume that we are talking about almost the same, about greening cities an making them more liveable and allowing people that doesn’t necessarilly need to live in cities to go to some rural villages more connected to nature, but, to some extent that may hurt the enviroment by an increased need in transport and single family houses being less energy efficient than bigger flat and apartment buildings.
For the micoagriculture incentives it seems that you are mostly talking incetivise people to turn their lawns into gardens and/or use some spare room in their homes to some food producing projects, which shouldn’t have a greater effect on land values and therefore it shouldn’t increase food prize, but if in the game urban farms don’t decrease food prize I don’t see why this policy should do it either, taking in account that most of the food that is produced is for the owner, and larger plots of land are just going to turn into cash crops instead of food, for the decreased demand.
It deppends on what you think a socialist is, but if we think that promoting private ownership of the means of production by the proletariat, instead of abolishing it is socialist, small bussines grants and, to some extend, private pensions should also please socialist, in fact I know several socialist that would opose the policy because it would make more dificult to plan the economy and it would make the production less efficient. And on the technology part, while 3d printing can be use for manufacturing, it is a technology mainly used for prototyping and unique pieces, not for mass production, in which it is more time consuming and produces goods that are more britle and less durable than conventional manufacturing.
On hydrogen I didn’t say that we would never do it, I just said that for cars and, to some extend, busses and trucks it makes little sense since it is less efficient and more expensive than pure battery electric vehicle, of course that if we want to reduce the oil demand of the air travel industry, energy dense fuels like hydrogen or derivates from it are needed. The problem that we ned a lot of hydrogen for other industrial uses that would make even more expensive for transportation keeps being real.
The vertical farms policy actually does reduce food price, more than any other policy in fact.
Democracy 3 featured a 3D printing subsidy which pleased socialists and for some reason harmed international trade. Really, 3D printing is closer to social democracy’s mixed economic model, since it’s only realistically affordable to middle-earners or communes and hypothesises a larger private market for those who buy in, it’s just widening at the bottom. That’s socialist-flavoured capitalism. The same applies for microagriculture grants. It’s business by and for people.
I was talking about urban farms, not about vertical farms subsidies.
It keeps being the same, the real question is what is socialist? I’n not saying that some socialist wouldn’t like it, but I think it doesn’t fit the model of socialist that is moddeled in de game.
Spotted this cool little feature on green jet fuels from the Economist.
A huge hurdle, but quite inevitable in our own world, let alone the hypothetical climate revolution states you can bring about in the game.
I quite like this idea, and the Distributism ideas you presented!
More news from the oncoming world of solarpunk/greenwashing urban revitalisation.