Introducing the Ben’s #CitiesSkylines Stream. Follow Me as I use the Urban Simulator as a Communication Tool

Weekly Streams

The initial tests have been done and the scripts are being written to keep the streams into 10 minute portions (for now). It is time to get the weekly Ben’s Cities(Skylines) Stream on the road (so to say) and out the door ready to be served every Monday.

The Ben’s Cities(Skylines) Stream

These streams will be starting off as short often two part streams commentating on all things urban simulation and urban geography using Cities Skylines as communication tool. From urban planning to urban development and onward to First Person mode (what the citizen sees) and Lane Mathematics this will both be causal but also formal as the game is used for downtime and urban geographic purposes.

Today I give a very brief overview of the game, the layout and the mods I use. From next Monday I will do both urban development and drop down to first person view so you see the world from a Cim’s perspective. At the moment both Manukau, and Grand Manukau/Layton Cities will be used in the streams. One is an older mature city the other one I recently started.

As always don’t forget to subscribe, like, share and leave a comment below. \

In the meantime: Drive Safe!

Streaming Experiments Continue. New Urban Expansion #CitiesSkylines

More sprawl and more streams

Just as Manukau was used as my experiment City for Campus and Industries DLC’s I am using Grand Layton/Manukau Cities as an experiment for my recordings that go onto Youtube.

Today I have three recordings all from First Person view. They are:

  • The 322 bus in Brown-ville
  • New resident commuting from Kent Heights to the Layton City Centre
  • Post Van doing its run

Enjoy:

Postman Pat delivering the Mail in Kent Heights again with a stop at the Layton City Distribution Centre
Follow a Kent Heights resident make their way to the City Centre where they work
Follow the new 322 Bus as it goes through the new urban expansions in Brown-ville

I will try and run a recording where I am also commentating “live” as I undertake urban development. See the methodologies I use when building my cities.

Stay tuned!

Catching up with Manukau #CitiesSkylines #UrbanGeography

Some 700 photos – and been slacking off a bit

Some 700 photos between March and now means I have been slacking off a bit with updates to my cities here.

I won’t share all 700 in this post as that is picture OVERLOAD for anyone. So over the next few posts I will be staging all the photos including data sets for Manukau while sharing the Urban Geography story through Cities Skylines.

In the run up to upgrading the City Centre

Manukau City Centre and Downtown have received upgrades over the last four weeks as well some urban expansion including a new technology park. In the run up to those photos lets take a look at where we are at the moment with game-style in Manukau.

Starting with the trams that run through the City Centre and Downtown of Manukau

Trams in Cities Skylines are particularly useful as they can move towards 300 passengers per rolling stock unit compared to my largest bus (a bendy bus) moving 135 passengers. Unlike heavy rail and Metro Rail trams are integrated into the urban area (no severance) and can blend other features like cycle ways. Trams are also quieter than monorails as well.

The main problem is they are at grade with the traffic and get caught at intersections causing congestion as seen below:

I am going to have to bite the bullet and replace the trams with monorail which takes the same road as trams but is elevates – so not fouled by intersections. Noise is easily mitigated mind you through trees and some rezoning (commercial loves monorail stations, residents don’t). Ah well onwards and upwards!

Buses

My workhorses of the transit fleet:

Buses I divided into three classes to make most of their flexibility:

  1. Light: these are feeder busses running every 15-20mins either all day or in daylight hours. These as they say they do feed into larger transit lines and will seat between 30-70 people per bus. Bus priority not often used except near transit hubs
  2. Standard: this is where the bus is the primary mover of people in a given area. The budget varies and allows frequencies between every 5 minutes in peak and 20mins off peak (night). Capacity ranges from 30 to 90 passengers per bus and bus lanes are seen on arterial roads
  3. Metro: this is where the big bendy buses (130 passenger) ply their trade often on busways connecting different Districts within the City. Frequencies are every 3-5 minutes and bus lanes or bus ways are used along most of their route. Metro buses can also feed into Metro Rail where the Metro rail runs north-south and the Metro Bus will run east-west intersecting the metro-rail at a transit hub. If the Metro buses are constantly overloaded I will swap them out for Trams or Metro Rail (more often Metro Rail owing to their grade separation above or below ground)

Bus Hubs of various sizes are used depending on purpose with some also interconnected with trams and mono-rail stations as well. And as expected Transit Oriented Developments are utilised around the bus hubs or transit interchanges as well to get best utilisation.

Bus Lanes and Busways:

Cycleways and Pedestrian paths

Cycleways and pedestrian paths I tend to use to connect cul-de-sacs up to nearby main roads. However, when your City has a river or three running through them cycleways and pedestrian paths become good cheap sources of moving people from A to B without needing the car clogging the area. Paths can also included Shared Spaces (with cars) or Pedestrian Malls.

Some examples:

Of course separated cycle lanes and ordinary cycle lanes help too:

Big Data Mk1

Finally the data sets I use in both planning and evaluating decisions when working on the City. The data set is very rich and covers a wide range of topics including even individual transit lines as you are about to see:

Cities Skylines is a bit more than slapping down some roads and zones. To make the City function optimally you have to respond to happenings and plan for them as well. The data sets can help especially with transport, electricity, water and amenities – unless you want the City to lock up and the residents sick.

A final shot of Manukau in the prelude before we go over to how the City is currently and how it got there:

Manukau Continues to Grow, Using the Toolkit to Make the City Function #CitiesSkylines

Maps, Big Data and pictures – how to make the City flow

When your City surges from 109,000 to 133,000 in two days of game play (basically the equivalent of Auckland’s growth from 2010 until 2019 (today)) you need to have your wits about you to keep the City functioning and flowing.

How do you do this? Using the Cities Skylines equivalent of BIG DATA – and lots of pictures:

From aerial photos, to transit line maps, to congestion maps, demographics and even the terrain I can access it all at the click of a button.

These photos and Big Data sets is what influences how I plan the City ahead for future development while also handling problems like traffic congestion and transit use overload (too many passengers for a particular mode on a particular Line). Essentially I become a Geographer, Transport Engineer, Planner, Urban Designer and Demographer all in one go in order to keep the City functioning.

Failure to do so means mass abandonment and the City going nearly bankrupt as Biffa tried to avoid with this disaster:

Big Data and aerial photos, your City builder friend.

And yes the traffic is flowing well as it stays above 70% with the main two congestion points (City Centre and Cruise Terminal) going through their “Business Cases” for the upcoming upgrades.

Those sodding Business Cases 😛

The Wayless Travel – the Trans-Manukau Link Road. Part Two with City Geometries #CitiesSkylines

NOTE: DO NOT OPEN WITH MOBILE DEVICE OR ON MOBILE DATA. DESKTOP RECOMMENDED

Part Two covers the Trans-Manukau Link in the day time, it also covers some of the urban geometries I am using in Manukau via Cities Skylines

The map I am playing to build Manukau on (this my first city with the Industries DLC) has a major transport weakness where there is no east-west connection between two sets of inter-city motorways along the coastal area. As a result and also how Manukau has developed a new east-west link was built and called the Trans-Manukau Link

The Link can be seen and annotated by the black arrows I quickly scribbled on:

Manukau with Trans-Manukau Link annotated

The link is either a 4 or 6-lane toll road that links one of two inter-city motorways and forms an expressway for freight and people to move across the coastal part of the city away from urban roads. It is not a motorway however there is no urban development flanking the Link. The Trans-Manukau links up several urban roads although it does not link with a separate 2-lane expressway that runs north-south from Manukau Shores through Wiri and Wiri East on its way to an inter-city motorway.

Free from urban clutter and an average speed limit of 70km/h going through multiple urban forms the Link has become a bit of a tourist trap for travellers either passing through or stopping Manukau for a holiday.

I have two sets of albums of the Trans-Manukau Link, one at night and the other in the day with a few aerial shots of the surrounding urban geography. This is done using the free camera mode that allows the camera to come down to first person level inside a City which is great for checking out all the nooks and hot spots a city has.

Manukau with 69,000 people in it

Trans-Manukau Link – Daytime

City Geometries

I had a comment on the geometry of the City so I am going to post a few pictures that help capture that:

Given Manurewa is under development at the moment I will have to get more Geometry pictures soon.

The Wayless Travel – the Trans-Manukau Link Road. Part One #CitiesSkylines

NOTE: DO NOT OPEN WITH MOBILE DEVICE OR ON MOBILE DATA. DESKTOP RECOMMENDED

The map I am playing to build Manukau on (this my first city with the Industries DLC) has a major transport weakness where there is no east-west connection between two sets of inter-city motorways along the coastal area. As a result and also how Manukau has developed a new east-west link was built and called the Trans-Manukau Link

The Link can be seen and annotated by the black arrows I quickly scribbled on:

Manukau with Trans-Manukau Link annotated

The link is either a 4 or 6-lane toll road that links one of two inter-city motorways and forms an expressway for freight and people to move across the coastal part of the city away from urban roads. It is not a motorway however there is no urban development flanking the Link. The Trans-Manukau links up several urban roads although it does not link with a separate 2-lane expressway that runs north-south from Manukau Shores through Wiri and Wiri East on its way to an inter-city motorway.

Free from urban clutter and an average speed limit of 70km/h going through multiple urban forms the Link has become a bit of a tourist trap for travellers either passing through or stopping Manukau for a holiday.

I have two sets of albums of the Trans-Manukau Link, one at night and the other in the day with a few aerial shots of the surrounding urban geography. This is done using the free camera mode that allows the camera to come down to first person level inside a City which is great for checking out all the nooks and hot spots a city has.

The Night Shift – a trip down Trans-Manukau Link