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When You Started a Town
- Zone residential and commercial next to each other, and industrial about seven-ten tiles away. Put an avenue through the residential/commercial and industrial. Put a toll booth on it if you like.
- For small town, use gas power plant. For medium-sized and large town, use coal. If you want to conserve the nature, you use wind power plant or use Cogeo Photovolatic Power Plant.
- Your commercial demand won't be very high until there's an airport. You shouldn't build a small airport until you have 26,000 sims in your city (that's when you can zone high density for skyscrapers).
- If you want to zone high density, you have met two requirements: water (pipes should be 12 spaces from each other, avoid diagonals), and 1,100 sims.
- Build a clinic (or two) until you have 1,100 sims, then build a large medical center. You pay $200/month for a huge coverage area, three clinics = $300/month for the smae area.
- Get a sim as soon as possible to get maximum feedback about your city.
When in Middle of the Game
Bulldoze old water towers! I think they still cost upkeep but produce nothing. (Not sure, but I could have swore that they do! Will experiment later)
I have not played with the different combinations, but I have a city with 125000 people, and I have a fully maxed out munincipal airport, and it is still not big enough! I guess the best thing is to build big.
Build all of those gifts, even things like opera houses. You may think it is a waste of money and space, but you can always cut the funding if you need to, and it just makes for a better city. Building a major art museum and other things makes your city a better place to live in. The funding is usually so minimal that it doesn't impact your bottom line much, and new sims will probably move into your highly cultured city so fast it won't matter anyhow.
As to that effect, look at all the requirements for the different gifts. See what you need, and see if you can get the requirements filled painlessly. If you are only one library away to get the main-branch library, why not plop another library down? (provided that all the libraries are good, it needs good libraries, which means funding)
Upgrade all your old streets to roads, even in low traffic areas. It just makes for a smoother commute for everyone.
Try building an integrated transit system. If you have train stations, try linking them up to subways or bus stations. With practice, I have made systems that made enough in fares to pay for itself! (It is not uncommon in my largest city to find a trainstation subway station combo that has over 5000 commuters a day, or more)
Building highways can help keep traffic down. I noticed this when one half of my city (without highways) had really bad traffic and another half (almost as dense building wise, but had highways) had little traffic.
Try specializing cities. My main city has massive blocks of residential and commerical, but little industrial. Neighbor cities are filled with heavy industries and agriculture. Although neighbor cities get the shaft population wise, they still end up being pretty decent.
After you are making good money, start dozing (or torching with the god tools, its free!) the bad business deal buildings (like the waste dump... yech). In the end, I'll probably keep the casino and federal prison, but I want to dump the rest (I mean, they were only tools to make me money anyhow, no hard feelings Army Base).