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About this City Journal

A whole new world is born... Come over, watch, comment and help create it!

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Framling

Het Middeneiland

Lieve Dames en Heen,

It seems that I have so little time on my hands that trying to find some to bring you an elaborate, Photoshopped (GIMPed actually) posting would delay it further to infinity. As it remains a "technical" CJ, for me to gather some experience and your feedback and advice on, well, going Dutch ;) , I'll keep it short and simple posting pics of the various parts of my all-new project.

So, here we go with Het Middeneiland, or The Middle Isle, sourrounded  by canals (some of which might have been the channel of a local river or stream). Here we have an imposing gothic cathedral, and, facing it, the much small historic town hall.

The clou, however, is the attempt to create a pedestrian-only brownstone-paved square around both of the historic buildings. As residential buildings cannot be connected to the transit system by pedmalls (is it only me, or does the name sound a bit like a double-entendree?) only, the "inner ring" of buildings are commercial only, with the "outer ring" being residental.

Here's where I faced an unexpected problem, as given the rich variety of lots provided by Haarlemmergold, there still were NOT ENOUGH of them. Go figure! Anyhow, I've reached out to another great Dutch Batter (anagram to which is Butch Dater, btw), Vanderaap, to broaden the selection... All in all, I am not sure if I succeeded, given that Vanderaap uses a rather oversized scale compared to regular "Maxis" and Haarlemmergold, and I gave up on fighting for variety at some point... You be the judge:

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Framling

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Welkom weer bij Polderland!

Before I begin, I have to apologise for not keeping my promise of updating this CJ daily. My new job got the better part of me, and I guess I will have to move to a more realistically possible weekly update schedule...

Mijn excuses :(

Anyhow, you might have been wondering what else I have in store for you. I've decided to bare it all and not keep you deluded any longer... Here it is:

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Here it is - not that large, eh? I started it out on the smallest possible tile as a testing ground for the future, "proper-sized", Polderland. As such, this is a mini-Polderland designed to test out some concepts and ideas, as well as implement your suggestions and see whether it takes us closer to recreating the unique feel of Flevoland.

If you want a better oveview, here's a larger composite panorama: http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/416/polderlandbigpanorama.gif

Since I will be taking you to various areas of this small map in this and coming updates, detailing where I was coming from, I will not be boring you with a tour over the large map. I would just like to note I treat the left side of the dijk as "backstage", where I put all the stuff necessary for the town to function and grow (yes, it's naturally grown, except for stuff only available as ploppables). Hence the "magical" garbage-to-energy thingy, as the windmills didn't provide enough electricity. This is also why the canals suddenly disappear (sorry, you weren't expected to look beneath that curtain!)

OK now, today, let me acquaint you with this small town's small heart, i.e. what you would normally call a centre. Since you've already got an overview of the "bay" apartments, library and the pump (I must say I like my idea here :D) , I will focus on the "land part".

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So, here it is, as you can see the entire "centre" is barely a block large.

I like this bit the most:

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It might only be my impression, but I believe I managed to create a rather Dutch part of town, even if not necessairly very "Polder". Do tell me what you think, I am not afraid of criticism, on the contrary, please be frank and tell me all you think of it.

The buildings to your current left....

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...are Polderland's Police Station (which I like a lot - it fits so many modern urban environments, both high- and low-rise, as it can serve both as a dominant and as a side dish) and Ill Tonkso's brilliant Princes House. I am not that sure about the inclusion of the latter one, as it does look 1920s rather than 1960s or later, but it does feel a bit Dutch to me and I need a W2W building. I'd love to hear what you think.

The office building...

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...is another Ill Tonkso creation, the East Point. I am having an on-and-off thing about it, so I'd gladly hear your opinion. I might experiment with some other Tonkso/NDEX creations. To the left of the East Point is the Chase Bank Branch. It's missing some props and textures, since I am not a big fan of installing humongous amounts of "essentials" just to get the one thing I need - and I guess thusly it became more convincing as a local Rabo, ABN Amro or Postbank kantoor.

On the side of the library is the PKN building.

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PKN stands for "Protestantse Kerk in Nederland", the largest protestant church denomination. Much in line with the BAT's and lot's author's intentions, I envisaged this building to be a loval community centre, with only a part devoted to actual worship, and the rest to other regular civic centre activities, though orchestrated under the auspices of the local PKN congregation.

To complete your tour of public service buildings, let's have a look at the local hospital and elementary school:

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The hospital is really small (and, much to my delight, transport-enabled and connected!), as this little town does not really need anything larger. All the more serious cases would be treated further down the dijk in larger, specialist faclities. The building is not especially modern or impressive, so I thought of a backstory of it being one of the first buildings around, as it was needed back when the polder was still under construction, hence it had to be built fast, cheap and simple. This would also dovetail nicely with the motorway location.

The elementary school building is perhaps a bit more German than Dutch - but I will gladly hear what the Dutch readers make of it.

Finally...

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What's a Dutch town without Albert Heijn? This supermarket chain is the essence of the Netherlands, bringing you all the groceries and other stuff you might need, Dutch style and this little bit upscale, allowing you to feel better about your daily shopping. I am an avid fan of Heijntje, and I am so glad Oppie provided us with this indispensable lot!

Also in the photo are twin Gobber's Office Buildings, which are meant here as a sort-of park. I didn't use the roundabout (or rotonde, if you please) nearly as much as Dutch urban planners do, but here's a nice sculpture to make up for it :D

OK, so that's it for today - unfortunately, due to time constraints, no modded pics today, this post will remain more "technical", as this CJ is intended to. Please comment, and do not limit yourself to a few words of usual compliments - I love them, but I really need to hear more from you to help me decide where to take it from there. Which buildings are OK and which should go away? Any suggestions regarding lots, BATs, props and mods I should use? Is the brown brick pavement OK with you? Please write whatever you think!

*** links to STEX uploads used and mentioned in this entry will be added shortly ***


 

TALKBACK

(I'll devise a neat header later on, excuse me again :( )

Aro0w - thank you very much! Care to expand on what you like and don't like?

Gecko_2006 - thanks a lot! Did I disappoint you with the ideas I had (not) in store? Anything you expected / hoped to see?

timomaas - Bedankt! Unfortunately, I am not a BATter, and a very poor lot/exemplar editor (I've had some really nice Dutch-style rowhouses I managed to corrupt with my "editing"), so I am only limited to whatever can be found on STEX (and perhaps LEX and SimKurier). Any hints on nice lots you've seen? Your input and opinion would be invaluable in assessing the "Dutchness" of this CJ, please do post extensively!

Gilikov1994 - Dank u wel! I am more familiar with Holland (and obviously, to some extent, Flevoland) than Zeeland, so that's what I am inspired by, and I'd love to hear a Zeelandse perspective on my creations.

mitsos - thank you, I am looking forward to hearing your opinion on this update!

PS. Nederlandse gebruikers, u kunt schrijven naar me in het Nederlands. Unfortunately, I won't reply in your beautiful language, as my entire command of it has been exhausted in this post, I am afraid :D

 

Framling

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Welcome everybody, thank you for visiting this humble CJ!

As you might have realized, this will be a CJ developing on a polder. To those of you not entirely sure what a polder is, let me briefly explain that it is more or less a bit of land "reclaimed" from the sea, or any other body of water, so essentially an entirely new one. By using elaborate engineering, the human civilization has in fact been creating polders for centuries, if not millenia now, but the most spectacular development thereof of course started in the 20th century, most notably in the Netherland, where an entirely new province has been created - and in fact, is still being created as we speak!

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Let me get personal for a moment and explain to you my deep fascination and affection for the Netherlands, and Flevoland (the said province) in particular. While I could go for ages on why Netherlands is such a lovely country, many of you will perhaps share my fascination with Flevoland when you realize this is where SimCity came to live, a few decades ahead of Will Wright. Since Flevoland is an entirely post-war creation, everything built there is 1960+, and thoroughly planned. Flevoland proved a great proving ground for engineers, urbanists, architects and other planning kind, effects of which can be witnessed live.

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No, it's not CitiesXL - but it almost could be!

This CJ is by no means an attempt at recreating Flevoland, any area or city thereof, but rather an excercise in using the divine greatness of SC4 and the invaluable riches of STEX and other custom content treasure chests to try recreate the unique polder feel.


Some of you might remember (this does sound rather boastful in this context) a stillborn, similar project of mine from ages ago, you can look there to get a better idea of where I am coming from...

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So far, I have amassed a vast collection of STEX goodies, fumbled some of them by the way, and built a very small community to test some of my ideas. I failed miserably at making it polder-like, but at least I learned to use the canals, and a few other intricacies I wasn't aware of.

So, please join the others on the journey into Polderland, where life is just... flat!

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I've got plenty of pictures taken, and there is a lot to describe and discuss, so updates will be frequent (hopefully daily). For now, a quick teaser of what you can expect:

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Striking vistas of the canal-based residential district!

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Lo(f)ts and lo(f)ts of Haven Lo(f)ts Lo(f)ts!

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Wind-powered consumerism extravaganza, topped with a spicy Chipotle Grille!

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...and yes, the first IKEA is there too!

So please, take a look, give me a hook or the ovation, but first and foremost, give me some good tips how to get better on my way to Polderland. I especially appreciate hints towards lots, bats, props, mods and tricks I could use. Don't be afraid to say what's on your mind, all comments are valuable!

Don't forget to bookmark this CJ not to miss the frequent updates and use the field below to help me convince all of you that life is indeed flat!

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