Unique Regional Planning Partnership: Kobayashi City x SimCity BuildIt!
Kobayashi City in Miyazaki Prefecture and Electronic Arts K.K. have announced the establishment of Kobayashi City Department of SimCity BuildIt, a unique regional planning partnership project. SimCity BuildIt is a freely available smartphone game in which players take on the role of mayor and build their ideal city. Kobayashi City, the other party in this dream collaboration, is known for its unique municipal PR efforts, including the N’damoshitan Kobayashi video promoting immigration which has been viewed 2.5 million times.
The Department of SimCity BuildIt, a virtual organization with the Mayor’s official seal of approval, encourages younger generations to participate in city planning. The Department is staffed by Kobayashi City employees and volunteers from Miyazaki Kenritsu Kobayashishuho High School, where SimCity BuildIt is used as a visualization tool in an official learning program in which students imagine the ideal future for Kobayashi City. These workshops began in late September, and each student created their ideal city over the course of approximately three months. By encountering challenges and exploring ways to resolve them, the students learned about the enjoyment and significance of participating in city planning.
“I have tremendous expectations and a sense of joy for the business we are developing through this collaboration with global game creator Electronic Arts, operator of SIMCITY BUILDIT,” said Yoshihisa Miyabara, Mayor of Kobayashi City. “The ideal city means something different to each person. Through these workshops, I hope younger generations will take a fresh look at the place where they live, become interested in city planning and develop into the human resources needed to create a new era in Kobayashi City.”
The establishment of the Department is accompanied by the release of numerous key visuals, featured on posters, shirts, business cards, and mugs. Kobayashi City has also released an official video on the initiative, set up a dedicated Department of SimCity BuildIt website, and drafted plans for additional activities, including a special movie to be presented by Mayor Miyabara on November 14, the “Nice City Day” (Yoi Toshi no Hi).
About Kobayashi City, Miyazaki Prefecture
Located in Miyazaki Prefecture, Kobayashi City has a population of 46,062 people (as of September 1, 2018) and covers an area of 562.95 square kilometers. The city lies at the foot of the beautiful Kirishima mountain range and has approximately 70 spring-fed ponds. It is a scenic city full of nature and people, offering a variety of attractions, including sightseeing spots, historical sites and cultural and traditional events.
Amid a trend for regional revitalization initiatives, “city planning” is a phrase often heard around Kobayashi. At present, the concept of parallel careers—a workstyle where people get involved after work or during holidays in regional communities away from their own place of residence, through activities such as local PR efforts or projects—is growing in popularity among people who live in large cities.
As well as promoting immigration and long-term residence policies aimed at increasing its permanent population, Kobayashi City is aiming to increase its non-resident population with an interest in local city planning by proactively welcoming people engaged in parallel careers or other activities promoting Kobayashi.