SimCity 3000 Hints & Tips

Zones information

Written By: Rand Huck
Friday, May 5, 2000

For those of you who aren't sure where, or when to place your zones, I will give you some background information about them.

Zones thrive on two mandatory sources: Roads and power, and will thrive more if you include water. There are some zones that must have water for their full potential. If you don't water a medium or dense zone, for example, they will not develop medium or dense, and you will only see lightly developed areas, so water is key to having a flourishing city.

The RCI(Residential, Commercial, Industrial) zones are the ones you will be using most of the time. They do vary much in how they should be treated:


The industrial zones are the first to develop when you start a city. You should have some residential available, because after about 6 months they will be neccessary for future development. They will always start dirty, but as the time progresses, you will start to see some clean industry replace these polluting factories. Don't get the notion that you need better landvalue to get these clean industries. Land Value has nothing to do with industrial zones, and you should not have it high, because if it is too high the zones will abandon.

Light industrial zones will develop small warehouses, tiny furnaces, and, if the enviroment is just right, farms.

Medium industrial zones will develop some labs (clean), small factories, and some tanks.

Dense industrial zones will develop much larger factories.

*Remember that medium and dense industrial zones will not develop correctly until you properly water them.

These zones must be 5 tiles at most from the road to develop, and must have power.


After industry, the residential will start to develop. Remember that this is where your sims live, and these zones should be kept away from any 'bad' buildings, like jails, business deals, and anything else that looks like you wouldn't like to live next to.

They must be at most 4 tiles away from the road in order for them to develop.

Light residential will develop some one family houses, and filler tiles will have some lawns, and high LV will develop pools and tennis courts, and other surprises.

Medium residential will develop some town houses and small apartments, filler tiles being concrete lots and urban yards.

Dense residential will develop some high rises, and filler tiles will be, including medium residential filler tiles, community gardens.


This is the last zone to develop, but is very important in the future of your city. For now, your city's priorities will be in the industrial side, but soon, commercial will replace that.

They must be 3 tiles away from the road at most, but you can have 4x4 buildings, so you should zone 4x4 anyway.

Light commercial zones will develop some mom and pop stores, gas stations, and the filler tiles will be the same as the medium and dense commercial zones, which are small parks with trees and fountains, and parking lots if LV are lower.

Medium commercial zones will develop some offices, if LV is high, and some chain stores if LV is lower.

Dense commercial zones will develop skyscrapers, office towers, and if you can support a 4x4 building, you are doing fantastic with your city!


Airports will support your commercial zones, and they will relieve some commercial cap. They will only develop in the folowing conditions:

7 tiles from the road

It's at least 5x7 tiles large

it's powered and watered


Seaports will support your industrial zones, relieving industrial cap. They will develop in the same conditions as airports, only they must be on a straight shoreline.


I, personally, forget this zone until I see some garbage filling the filler tiles, then when you zone some, they will go away. They are neccesary for starting a city, unless you want litter all over the place. They must be at most 6 tiles away from the road, and may develop without water, but you will see your utilities advisor whining that the trash needs water as well, so you should water it for your sake.

One last note

If you enact the shuttle service ordinance, the 'road limits' will increace by one tile for the RCI zones. In other words, commercial zones will develop 4 tiles from the road, residential, 5 tiles, etc. This does not apply to port and landfill zones.

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