Walking Through the Urban Forest – #CitiesSkylines Goes Back to Nature

Park Life and the Detailer

The one thing about Cities Skylines Park Life is that it even makes the most macro-level urban designer like me come right down to the micro levels – when it comes to designing parks. There is a satirical take on it which I will have at the bottom of the post.

San Layton City Goes Green – with parks!

While Cities Skylines Green Cities allowed for Green Buildings and policies Park Life allows you to go really green with parks. Whether they City Parks, Amusement Parks, Zoos or Nature Reserves even the most compulsive micro detailer would be getting their fill from Park Life.

As San Layton City continues to expand the open space provisions of the City are never far from the front of mind. That is a mix of small pocket parks and large nature reserves and everything else in between!

San Layton City is blessed with large swathes of forests through the map – this makes the development of large Nature Reserves a very attractive idea and one the Cims and tourists love.

So then let’s take a look at San Layton Reserve.

The opening shots before the Reserve was developed:

 

Some initial area shots of the developed Reserve:

 

Leading to San Layton Reserve:

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And walking through the San Layton Nature Reserve:

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And of course some night shots:

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And yes you can even access the Reserve by transit whether it be heavy rail, subway, monorail or bus – now how Green is that:

 

Whether it be hunting, fishing, hiking, tents, cabins or self contained camp ground San Layton Reserve has it here for you. Some paths are lit while some are not (the park is oepn 24 hours) allowing for whatever experience you are looking for catered for!

 

All said San Layton Reserve is in the middle of a city so reminders of urban life are never that far away:

San Layton Reserve –  your Nature Reserve home away from home that is in the middle of your home – City!

 

As for being that Detailer?

A Bleak Day in San Layton City #CitiesSkylines. Also Checking Out some Urban Design Up-close

Tad wet

 

Just a quick update with San Layton City while I put together the San Layton Reserve post. Today we follow Bus Line 16 from the City Centre to new nature reserve at Garnet Hills.

As the title said it was a bleak day (well night) but no matter as busses and monorail move you around safely. Also a good chance to check out some urban design up close so here we go:

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Garnet Hills

 

 

#CitiesSkylines Park Life is Out and I am Having an Absolute Blast. Also Urban Geography and Green Utility Skills Tested

DLC handles well with a few minor bugs

Well one of those bugs is pretty major if I can not place down the International Airport in your map.

Anyway yesterday the Cities Skylines Park Life DLC came out so I decided to give it a whirl – once the crucial Mods were updated. I didn’t have to wait long as by mid-day the Mods were updated and away I went for the rest of the day.

First a quick prelude in Park Life from Paradox:

Cities: Skylines – Parklife is NOW AVAILABLE!

 

……

Source: Steam

So what did I get up to?

Well the normal Urban Geography game play of building and tweaking continues as always. A new major suburb known as Kent Square was opened up in one of San Layton’s bays connecting the City Centre and Centre Park to the historic area of the City.

That said the Satellite method (establish a Core connected by multiple urban satellites) is being tried in San Latyon City and should be easier to do with Nature Reserves (part of the new DLC) being able to be established in between urban areas.

As of today San Layton City has two “City Parks” and one Amusement Park. The first Nature Reserve and a Zoo are in the planning pipeline for when I next load the game.

 

Park Life

Some early photos of Park Life in action:

The initial look around

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Building our first “City Park”

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All Aboard the sight seeing bus linking the Amusement Park with Centre Park (Convention Centre, Casino, Sky Tower and Monorail hub)

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Some quick broad shots

 

And now for the tram between Centre Park and the historic area:

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Finally some shots from a hot air balloon and other random shots:

 

 

I will get the Nature Reserve and Zoo built next week and test the Green Utility out further as the City continues to expand.

 

San Solaria Going Green Continues #CitiesSkylines

New Green policy continues

I speak Green in Twitter I follow Green on #CitiesSkylines.  As shown in San Solaria Leads the Way in Low Carbon Future San Solaria gets 95% of its power from green sources while 1/3 of the Districts are ‘Green’ Districts  and several more following E-cars for residents.

 

The last week I have been developing up Solarian Ranges after completing the last of surrounds with Laytonville which is situated at the bottom of the Solarian Range hills. Solarian Ranges is the (at the time) latest Green community situation up in the Solarian Ranges next to the Solarian Dam (the main hydro power station and fresh water storage site). It is accessible by a single two lane highway or cable car traversing the Ranges. Given the Solarian Lake tourism value Solarian Ranges is serviced by busses connecting it to the Laytonville Harbour Ferry Interchange.

 

Green is the name of the game from the roads, buildings, organic produce, residential self-sufficiency, bio fuelled busses, recycling centre, EV charging stations and the combustion engine ban.

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Solarian Ranges continued:

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Solarian River and Laytonville Heights also continue to mature well as Green communities:

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Finally a preview at the latest Green community – Solarian Point:

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Next up: Solarian Point – San Solaria’s latest green community. After that we take a ride on a cable car and the subway to the Airport.

 

All here in Ben’s Cities!

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Amenities and Residential Development. What Goes Missing When Planning?

A question often asked

 

A question often asked in the real world as well as Cities Skylines: How to upscale your residential area – that is how to trigger intensification or how to get a new residential area started.

This is a crossover post with my Talking Southern Auckland blog on amenities and residential areas. Amenities or rather facilities, services, conveniences, comforts  and creature comforts are things we all need but things we often forget about when it comes to residential planning. Specifically when a residential area has been upzoned for intensification or a new residential laid down (Greenfield) what encourages their developments.

 

The question above gets asked in the Cities Skylines forums as players struggle to achieve their aim of a new residential area or an existing residential area upgrading to a more intense and more wealthy one. That struggle can apply to a real life City as well.

Yes we can all lay down some roads, put in the pipes, maybe add a bus line or two and put down a school. But that is not quite it is it? Sure you get the basic housing going in your new area but not the more high-end stuff you are looking for.

Remember what the synonyms for amenities are: facilities, comforts etc and so on.

 

Let’s take a look at a new residential area I started in San Solarian City:

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This is a new Greenfield area next to an existing urban area. The basics such as roads, pipes and a bus line have been laid down. But if you look deeper the amenities reveal themselves and would be what attracts new residents to the area quickly.

Parks, public loos, a cycle way connecting to the existing urban area, ferry station, some basic shops, lane ways, a busway and shared space roads. All are classed as amenities, facilities, comforts and creature comforts and are what makes the area suitable for rapid development.

 

Looking at an existing area:

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This is that existing urban area I was talking about just earlier. A high density area that is still developing. Amenities are still needed to trigger further intensification as there is still quite a bit of blank land especially commercial land available. Simple things such as a new park or loo will often do the trick while upgrading the road or transit line requires a bit more investment.

In this case improving access through that large roundabout in the picture triggering off further urban development after the busway construction triggered off the last round.

 

In the end it comes down to more than just a road, a pipe and a bus stop to develop or intensify a residential or even commercial area. It comes down to what facilities or amenities are available for those residents, employers or shoppers.

 

Back to the real world simulators such as Cities Skylines look at:

The use of simulation games such as Sim City 4 in the USA and Cities Skylines in the EU has thrown up the question on their value to give input into urban planning. With Cities Skylines – How Cities: Skylines is being used to build a real-life city district was trialled with interesting results (see: http://www.pcgamer.com/how-cities-skylines-is-being-used-to-build-a-real-life-city-district/ ). The premise of Cities Skylines is around a few universal rules such a Government provided public amenities and infrastructure with urban development set around a basic framework of loosely defined zones. The urban environment adapts and evolves within the interactions and rules of the public amenities and the zones.

 

It seems a simulator has quite a bit to offer planners and elected representatives in how residential and commercial demand is driven within a City.

 

The new residential area developing. Notice I did Phil Goff’s million trees program too. Those trees act as amenity as they are a comfort to the new residents. So never forget your trees!

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Finally a drive through of my latest residential area:

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All Aboard! Taking Layton City Metro Line 2. #CitiesSkylines

Taking a trip around the flag City

 

Layton City is still my only City that used heavy rail as part of the commuter transit system. All my other cities either use a combination of subway and elevated light rail, trams and/or busses with heavy rail relegated to inter-city movements.

 

Consequently there are four heavy rail lines that run either around or through Layton City all of which pass through the City Central Interchange in the City Centre. The four Lines are:

  1. Layton Metro #1 and #2: this is the circular line that around the City in either a clockwise or anti clockwise motion. The Line colours are yellow or white
  2. Onehunga Line: This line runs from Olive Park in the South and runs north through the middle of the City before coming to its major interchange in Onehunga. The Line continues and joins Metro Lines #1 and #2 at Beech District before terminating at Onehunga Central. The Line colour is blue
  3. Manukau to Airport Line (that is Layton City International Airport). This Line starts at Manukau Interchange and follows Metro Lines #1 and #2 north until after the East-West Canal where the Line turns right linking up with the Space Elevator, Stadium Park, City Central and finally terminating at the Airport.

 

I will post the other Lines later on. But today Metro Line #2 (City Central to Manukau and back around to City Central going in a clockwise direction if looking from the south:

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Layton City looking from south to north

 

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Looking down to the City Centre (from north to south)
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Manukau Interchange

 

Another Day on Bus Line 17 #CitiesSkylines

Commentary from a driver on Bus Line 17 and how the City evolves

 

We get back in touch with the driver of the Bus Line 17 to see his photo essay of one of busiest lines in San Solaria. Since our last meeting there has been quite a bit of development in San Solaria including Wood Hills.

The Wood Hills development and subsequent ferry pier (see: Ferries! Finally Got Them Working #CitiesSkylines) saw Bus Line 17 extended with the route now ~30 stops (the second biggest line behind Line 7). But it is the new features like blimps going across the sky and the new bus lane boulevards that have made the trip more interesting.

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New improvements such as the bus boulevards, new route finding, and new priority measures have helped make transit more desirable to travel on. With new bus-ways also being rolled out getting around San Solaria became that much easier.

 

The Bus Line 17 Photo Essay

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FIRE! Also Power Stations

This is why you don’t smoke in a forest

 

Someone careless buffoon caused a fire at the San Solarian Forest last night triggering a response from nine fire trucks and a fleet of 10 fire helicopters to put the blaze out. Damage was contained to the trees and some minor damage to production buildings.

Investigations are underway on who started the fire:

 

 

Power Stations

Night time mode is when I leave the simulator to run on Cities Skylines if I had done a large scale urban development project in the previous day cycle. Night time mode also means some pretty looking pictures of your city at night time as well.

So let’s follow around a GT2000 as it decided to pass just about every power station in the City:

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Contrary to Twitter claims it was not Minister Gerry Brownlee trying to find a car park after he couldn’t find one in Christchurch City Centre the other day…..

 

As for power ratios in San Solarian City:

  • Nuclear Power: 640MW/h
  • Hydro: 500MW/h when the dams are at full power. Average is about 360MW/h
  • Onshore wind: 130MW/h
  • Offshore wind: 300MW/h
  • Oil (mothballed): 300MW/h

The City currently consumes 1,300MW/h of power with geothermal central heating supplying another 300MW/h of thermal heat equivalent.

 

A Day on Bus Route 17 in #CitiesSkylines

Word from a bus driver in San Solarian City

 

Transit and active cycling play a big role in my Cities Skyline cities whether it be Layton City or San Solarian City. We often see the exploits of the transportation system as it moves people and goods around. But what is it like on the ground?

Today we here from the bus driver of Route 17 who took the afternoon-evening run on San Solarian’s biggest bus in the fleet – the 135 seater bendy bus.

 

 

Interviewer: so what is it like on Route 17?

Driver: First the route. Route 17 runs from Glade Hills Transport Interchange to Cozy Clifftops via the new Hill Park development. Unlike the older bus routes, Route 17 runs through the fringe of the City.

Interviewer: So what kind of people do you get on the route?

Driver: Route 17 serves mainly low density residential areas with their low density commercial local centres. In places there is high density residential apartments but otherwise the route mainly serves families and seniors rather than professionals and university students.

Interviewer: So….

Driver: Schools, especially high schools. This is where the fun begins especially on the afternoon run with the Ministry of Education having a flexi-timetable policy (no fixed timetable as schools are open 7am – 6pm). Route 17 has two high schools on its route serving some 2400 students. Come afternoon it gets rather “comfortable” even on my big bendy bus. The Hill Park West Bus Station is pretty chocker with students in the afternoon and it can take about ten busses to clear all the students out from the high schools (the rest walk or cycle).

Interviewer: How do we fix the crowding issue?

Driver: The San Solarian City Council is busy building a new metro subway line from the City Centre out to the western fringes of the City. With that and a new cross town route in the plans the crowding pressures should relieve themselves on Route 17.

Driver: Route 17 is also known as the Wow route. Wow as in the views from the cliff tops over looking the ocean as you traverse through Cozy Clifftops back down to Hill Park.

Interviewer: Would you change anything?

Driver: Apart from speeding up the construction of the new Metro line? No, the Route is a pretty sweet one and the kids are often well behaved. Route 17 is like taking a scenic drive through the City unlike some of the other routes that go through the core of the hustle and bustle of the City.

Interviewer: Thank you for your time

Driver: You are welcome. Don’t forget to tag off as you leave the bus.

 

Following around busses and trains reveals interesting sights not seen at bird’s eye level in Cities Skylines. It is often nice just mingling with the people taking timeout from City building and transport management in a booming city.

We also managed to get some pictures from Route 17 on its run. Have a look below:

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