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?

#CitiesSkylines New Expansion Out Next Month: PARKS – Lots and Lots of PARKS

No not car parks

 

Paradox and Colossal Order have announced a new DLC coming out for their vaunted hit – Cities Skylines

 

From Paradox via STEAM:

We’re thrilled to announce Parklife, our next expansion for Cities: Skylines!

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Source: https://steamcommunity.com/games/255710/announcements/detail/3339858483831123709

 

This will be great for my latest city San Layton City as I try new Urban Geography techniques including large park spaces and the use of those paths – that currently I can not build beside – yet!

I was also thinking last week that my City is missing a theme park like my flagship city had in Sim City 4 (it spanned half a map tile in the region).

 

As a result I will put my City on hold so I can make maximum use of the new DLC – when it comes out May 25 – the day after my Birthday

 

Thanks Paradox and Colossal Order!

 

 

Introducing San Layton City A #CitiesSkylines New Creation

Testing out new features

 

San Solaria recently reached its limits as the game as a vehicle agent limit of 15,000 to prevent the computer being overtaxed. This means your cities without a mod to break the limit mature out at around 300,000 to 500,000 as San Solaria did. I will keep going back to San Solaria to tweak it but in the meantime it is time to start a new city.

 

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San Layton City looking towards the ranges

 

Introducing San Layton City – A Green City

San Layton City will be the first city I have built from scratch since the Green Cities DLC came out in October last year. Rather than retrofitting back as I did with San Solaria, San Layton will be built with Green ideals and planning in mind.

Monorail will be used for the first time ever while heavy rail for commuting will be used again (not every City I build uses heavy rail for commuting) as I look at building satellite cities as well as a main core.

As always Green Power will be at the forefront with nuclear, geothermal and wind (no rivers for Hydro in this map) used as base power and the use of residential solar, and E-cars also to be City-wide policy.

 

So away we go with San Layton City – a Green City!

 

Redesigning the Transit Network #CitiesSkylines Style. Lessons for Auckland

Could Cities Skylines transit network redesign offer hints for Auckland’s poor accessibility to transit?

 

Yesterday a paper was released by MRCageny on accessibility to transit and basically how Auckland’s accessibility let alone equity to transit sucked.

The paper can be found in the Tweet below and I’ll write on this more extensively next month after the Summer Series concludes:

 

 

And yes Auckland pretty much sucks at accessibility:

 

 

I have also written on accessibility in the past over at Talking Southern Auckland when the Manukau South Link was a topical issue:

Manukau South Link catchment close up by Saeid Adli

 

Cities Skylines offers lessons

 

Having to redo your entire transit network becomes a must as your City matures and approaches larger sizes. Bus lines end up a mess as the City expands while trams don’t operate efficiently due to expanded roads and lack of priority measures. As much as you can forward plan it some days a reformat is required.

 

 

San Solaria’s bus and trams will need a reformat as they are not tying in well with the subway network and central bus stations throughout the City. Patronage use to exceed total vehicles on the road but recently it is struggling to match one-third of its previous peaks.

Route accessibility has become the problem with routes going everywhere BUT where people wanted and this has a double knock on effect. The first being less people on the transit network means more cars on the road. More cars on the road means roads and intersections are more jammed up blocking busses and trams. Given the tram and bus network was designed around San Solaria being a mono-core City but in reality it has matured into a two Core city accessibility fast becomes a problem. Also as industry expands into new complexes the population becomes more diverse in its travel patterns.

Sounds a lot like Auckland right?

 

 

 

So time to delete about 10 tram lines and 75 bus lines (some more recent ones will stay) and reformat the surface transit network!

Fun times ahead!

 

 

 

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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To 2018 with Ben’s #CitiesSkylines

Even San Solaria marks New Years

 

New Years Eve was a quiet one in real life but was a noisy affair in San Solaria City. Coincidentally when I loaded the game up on New Years Eve it was also Sunday going over to Monday in the game as well. So why not mark it as the New Year celebrations for my largest city!

 

Happy New Year via Cities Skylines:

 

 

It has been a busy year for the City with the Greens Cities DLC coming out and San Solaria doing its part going green.

100% of its power comes from emissions free sources consisting of: nuclear, hydro, wind and wave power. Quite impressive really.

 

 

So here is to what is going to be an extremely busy year in San Solaria (and my new city San Layton City)!

 

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From the BIG DIG to New Urban Spaces. Stitching Up Two Urban Areas #CitiesSkylines

Part Two – reconnect the urban areas

 

A recap from Part One – Bury the Motorway:

Motorways, great for moving cars and trucks but boy do they take up land and create large severance in the urban form. In San Solaria City the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway was a 6-lane highway that ran east-west along the Solarian Coast connecting the city up to the wider region.

The highway was already there when I built San Solaria however, the motorway still severed the main urban area from the City Centre and Downtown.

The elevated Metro line (Light Rail) also forms a severance and will be dealt with as well as the urban regeneration continues.

But as you can see the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway is rather not that great when contributing to Solaria’s urban form?

Solution?

BURY THE MOTORWAY

 

Now for Part Two

Reconnecting the Urban Areas

First things first was to bury the elevated Metro line that also formed a severance to the urban form:

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As a result of placing the Metro line underground I was able also build three new subway stations that would allow the catchment of the respective Lines to expand. As for the foot and cycle bridges they are remaining up for the moment until the new cycle boulevards are built.

 

Next up is removing the old underpasses and connecting up the two formerly severed urban areas with new roads:

 

And now for the brand new boulevard running down what was the former surface motorway. I chose the new 4-lane boulevard that comes with tram tracks, parking and grade separated cycle lanes as not only I am planning to build a new tram line but also lots of trees, street furniture and of course new cycling facilities.

 

I had to alter the west end motorway ramps that were taking excessive amounts of space. At the same time on the eastern end I started laying down the new roads for the new urban developments:

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Now for the fun – building!

In go the side roads, civic infrastructure and parks:

 

In this case I used the alternative education facilities that came with the Greens Cities DLC expansion rather than the conventional schools from the normal game. By alternative I mean: Community School, Institute of Creative Arts, and Institute of Technology rather than Primary and High Schools, and a standard university.

And yes I also built a new set of Government Offices (and Central Park) >_<

 

The Result of the initial urban regeneration after burying the motorway?

Have a look below. Part Three – ‘Was there ever a motorway here’ will showcase the fully regenerated urban area reconnecting the old two urban areas once severed by the motorway.

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Lessons for Auckland?

Auckland has plenty of excessively wide roads that can be humanised and two motorways that can be “buried” by placing parks above them. Grafton Gully is one and State Highway 20 between the Great South Road and Lambie Drive bridges is another.

No it is never a cheap exercise reconnecting severed urban areas whether in real life or Cities Skylines life. But the investment is most definitely worth it when urban areas are reconnected and the people get to enjoy both new urban spaces from the reconnected urban form.

Part Three showcasing the fully regenerated urbanscape after burying the motorway will have lessons Auckland and other urban areas can learn. I know for sure the residents of San Solarian City are loving the new urban area so much so there is a spike in new Residential demand for the City (word of mouth works)!

 

More soon

 

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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Cities Skylines to Officially Introduce Mass Transit

Oh for the chaos ahead

 

While Cities Skylines has a basic transit system currently to get maximum use from it you need quite a few mods like Network Extensions, Rush Hour and Transport Manager added alongside the base game.

However, never fear (err or might) Paradox are to release a new DLC called Mass Transit. Yep if you have already buggered up your cities with traffic chaos then Mass Transit with either fix it or make it even worse. If trying to retrofit into an existing city well then welcome to Auckland’s mess in trying to retrofit decent transit into a large urban area.

 

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From Paradox Interative :

New Expansion for Cities: Skylines Majors in Commuter Science

“Mass Transit” Adds Monorails, Ferries, Cable Cars, and Blimps to City-Management Game

Published: February 28, 2017 10:28:42 AM CET

STOCKHOLM – Feb. 28, 2017 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games that play fare, today announced a new expansion coming soon for Cities: Skylines, the award-winning city-builder from Colossal Order. The expansion, titled “Mass Transit,” will bring new forms of transportation to the PC game, allowing mayor-players to offer in-game citizens new ways to get across town by land, sea, and air. With new transit service buildings, mass transit hubs where lines can exchange passengers, new scenarios, new landmarks, and new road types, Mass Transit will provide veteran players of Cities: Skylines with more choices and options to personalize their cities than ever before.

……

Per usual, the new expansion will arrive together with a free update to the base game upon release. This free update adds mod-inspired features to traffic management, such as an extended public transport budget, emergency vehicle overtaking and more road features. The patch will also include the much-requested ability to name roads.

……..


 

Oh what fun will be waiting when this expansion comes out