Spruce Up the Street is an advanced board game that promotes neighborhood and home improvement, as a way of preventing urban sprawl.
Urban Sprawl is low density, automobile dependent development that increasingly consumes thousands of acres of forests and farmland. In 1950, seventy million Americans lived in urbanized areas, covering about 13,000 square miles. By 1990 this population had doubled, yet the land they occupied almost quintupled! As it pushes outward with new construction on large lots, sprawl leaves boarded up houses, vacant storefronts, closed businesses, abandoned industrial sites, and traffic congestion stretching miles from urban centers. It also leads to an immense loss of community: People visiting with one another on front porches and neighbors helping neighbors. This just cannot happen on huge lots where people can live for years without ever knowing their neighbors!
Spruce up the Street teaches players to embrace their home rather than moving to a new house, pushing the sprawl outward even further. They make improvements and changes that make an existing house feel like new. In addition, they improve their neighborhood, which in doing so creates a positive community morale and camaraderie. This leads to a place where people want to stay. Even though they will encounter some problems along the way, players will embrace their home and neighborhood improvement as an enjoyable challenge. It will show them that their home and community is a member of the family and deserving of care and attention, and prove to them that building new and contributing to sprawl is simply not necessary.
The game ends when the Phase 4 pieces run out for the neighborhood board (there are not enough Phase 4 pieces to cover the board). The player with the highest total value for their house and block wins, and the player the with the lowest total value for their house and block will have their block demolished and have a strip mall put in its place. Players are then inspired to embrace their house and neighborhood, and improve rather than move and replace.