Traffic Crisis and Housing Crisis – Just an Average Day in Valhalla City #CitiesSkylines

Can we fix it? Err maybe…

In Cities Skylines your city can fail in one of two ways; population abandons it because your City Management was less than desirable, or the City has become too successful and both housing and infrastructure have not kept up.

Well for Valhalla City we had a case of the latter. After the ore and farming industries opened up we had a massive influx of residents which meant an influx of traffic to boot. Queue the City’s housing and infrastructure in a bit of a pickle. So over the space of several streams (or strims) I attempt to fix one crisis after another. But unlike the real life New Zealand Finance Minister we do not engage in tinkering, we engage in full blown Public Works – NO HOLDS BAR!

So did I fix both sets of crisis that had hit Valhalla City? Find out in the full video streams of the week’s play below. For live streams see: https://www.twitch.tv/palpatine001

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

The September 20 fly through:

What does the future hold for Valhalla? Tune in and find out!

#citiesskylines Tutorial: Stylised Districts in Your City (Modded)

Using Themes to create stylised Districts

An often overlooked feature using Cities Skylines is that you can stylise individual Districts to your tastes or objectives. Most often we will select what is known as a “Theme” and implement it city-wide. For example my go to city-wide Theme is European and European Suburbia as I don’t like the high rise and super-talls that come with the International theme (Europe also has higher people density as well ironically).

However, using Building Themes I can set individual Districts to have individualised Districts. For example I use the University housing content pack and the Building Theme to create a University district with student housing and commercial services. In the video below I did another theme with Kiwi housing and civic assets (commercial is still being worked on by the asset maker).

How do you do individualised District styles? Check the video below:

You can find me at: https://www.twitch.tv/palpatine001

Have fun with your stylised Districts that add spice to your city creations

The Kiwi Estates using Building Theme and Kiwi Assets only in this District

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

 

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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Travelling Down the Subways #CitiesSkylines

Metro Overhaul Mod overhauls subway systems

 

I will post an introduction to my latest city San Solaria in another post. In this post I will be showcasing what it is like being on a metro/subway train both above and below ground for the first time.

This is thanks to the Metro Overhaul Mod for Cities Skylines that allow you to create a conventional subway system as well as a ground and/or elevated metro (light rail) system seen in New York City, Chicago and London. The mod allows me to bring the expensive subway system above ground making it cheaper to build and maintain out in the suburbs (while in the urban centres the system goes back underground per normal) compared to being all underground or using the conventional heavy rail system like Neo Layton City.

 

With my new city – San Solaria (the map theme is California) I am trying out using the metro system via the mod to move mass amounts of people around the City in place of heavy rail (which will be used for inter city connections). Busses and trams are still used but for localised connections rather than pan-city connections.

One of the spin off’s from the Metro Overhaul Mod is that when in first person mode you can see an actual subway system with actual subways stations. The pictures demonstrate what can be seen for the first time:

 

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San Solaria

 

 

Flying High, A #CitiesSkylines Look

Aircraft offer unique view points

 

One thing I love about Cities Skylines is the drive or walk by’s you can do by switching the camera to first person view. While I have shown ground level walk through’s I don’t believe I have shown one from an aircraft.

 

So here are some pictures of what it is like from a passenger’s point of view in an aircraft coming in or going out of Layton City:

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Layton City has two airports; one being Layton City International Airport near Downtown and the City Centre with a smaller airport located next to Manukau City Centre (Manukau Airport).