SimCity 3000 Hints & Tips

What is a realistic city?

Written By: Rand Huck
Friday, May 12, 2000

You most likely live in or near some city, whether it's Asheville, NC, or New York City. Even if it's the downtown of a small village, you still get a little taste of that city feel. You also most likely want your SimCity 3000 city to be as much like your city as it can be. I don't mean modeling, but just a hypothetical city that acts like a real city. First, let me tell you my description of an unrealistic city:

There is no downtown. The whole thing is an urban jungle, filled with residential and commercial towers, with some industrial areas in the background. There are about 12 ballparks in a row, followed by some 'astronomical' skyscrapers.

Don't get me wrong. I'm cool with some quality towers, and some parks to boost some landvalue, but when it is all repetitious, it just looks pathetic. Here are a few tips to making a realistic city. I will start with the industrial district because that is what you begin with:


It is alright for your district to be near the edge, but I would suggest some dense industrial, with medium interwoven. Don't forget farms, because that is how most cities start. They don't usually start with factories just like that. Zone a few farms here and there. They can be around the edge of the map, too, because your downtown will most likely be near the center, and farms should be away from all that commotion. When your industrial areas become very clean, you can start to build them anywhere, except the city center, where land values will be too much for them.

Downtown (Downcity for you Rhode Islanders)

Downtown should cover a good area of about a sixth of the map tops. It consists of a park in the center. You might even want to build 4 parks for a block, but that should be it for parks. Even if the edges of your downtown aren't the best for landvalue, what is wrong with that? The deep downtown district will be the richest, and there should be some variety here and there. Residential zones should not be in the downtown, but encircling it, wrapped around. Your city hall should be here, too, as well as the stock exchange, and perhaps the statue.

Dense Residential area

This is the 'wrapped around' area of downtown. This is where some of the schools, museums, and other services can go. Oh, and I almost forgot! The dense residential zones (okay, I didn't forget). This should not cover most of the map, but just a small doughnut shape around the downtown section. Outside this area, don't just go into light residential like that. Have a layer of some medium residential, followed by the light stuff.


Myth: The suburbs only have light residential and nothing else.

Fact: They have some medium commercial, a few townhouses, and even some industrial areas.

Suburbs can either be medium or high landvalues, but I would suggest having some variety. Some mansions on one side, but some medium income families on the other side. Low value is not common in suburbs, but near the city you can have some slums. Have a few main roads that will have some medium commercial areas for your sims to shop in, instead of having them go all the way downtown to buy eggs and milk. This will also lower some traffic. You can even have an industrial park in your little suburb. This will be a small medium industrial area, enough to fit about 5 factories. I strongly advise you only do this when your EQ is high enough to build clean industries. You can have two of these, depending on the size of your suburb. Farms can fit right in, as well. You can have some medium residential areas for townhouses if you want. This is also a great place for the airport because the buildings are low, even though they can't crash, it adds some realism. Schools are good to have in your suburb, of course. You can have your country club around where the 'high end' is.

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Especially in the suburbs schools should have a ballpark and a playground near it. It will boost landvalues, and it just looks right to have these enhansements to your school.

Your highways should be near, but not in downtown, and partly wrap around it. This could be the separation between the dense and medium residential districts. You can have a highway going into the airport, too.

The stadium should be between the dense commercial in downtown and the dense residential areas around downtown.

Okay, you are probably asking, "What the heck is this thing?" It's an illustration of the city that you might want to build. Here's a code:

Red = Light/medium commercial
Blue = Dense Commercial
Orange = Industrial
Light Blue = Airport
Light Green = Light Residential
Dark Green = Dense Residential (medium in the edge)
Black Lines = Highways

This is my opinion of what a realistic city. If you have your opinion, you may reply to this article with your ideas.

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