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Cobra Valley Region

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This is my first region in the new SimCity, based on the Whitewater Valley region template. Right now I have four of the five cities developed in various states. My first city, Lewston, was created as an ore mining city, and eventually moved up to smelting as it grew. At this point I was still really learning the ropes with regards to specializations, so my ore mines aren't in the best places. (I also realized after I created this topic that it is the only city that I have no pics of, so Lewston will come later).


Elm Grove is the largest city in Cobra Valley, being home to well over 100,000 Sims. It is home to the Cobra Valley Department of Education, and is known as a leader in the technology industry.


Looking from Elm Grove toward Lewston, shortly after the new city's founding. At this point, Lewston was already a bustling, established city of some 40,000 Sims, and Elm Grove was just a wide spot in the road.



A shot of Elm Grove's central neighborhood during an earlier phase of the city's growth.



This street is eerily quiet considering how many people live here.



Downtown Elm Grove, looking down Main Street. This is the main highway passing though Elm Grove. Usually traffic is nowhere near this pleasant.



Downtown Elm Grove in the foreground, with the city of Lewston in the background. On the left, you can see the headquarters of Elm Grove Oil and Gas Co.



Looks like once again we managed to avoid that rush hour traffic. The former headquarters building for the Elm Grove PD can be seen on the right; the old police station was demolished 4 years ago when the city decided to build a larger, more modern station on the other side of downtown.




Elm Grove as viewed from the air. The city has changed significantly since this photo was taken; many of the more modest townhomes have been replaced by high rise apartment towers, and industry has undergone significant modernization thanks to the efforts of the city education system and some assistance from sources that the mayor would rather not acknowledge ;)



The other city that will be featured in this initial post is Cobra Peak, a mining town created as a secondary source of raw ore and coal when growth in Lewston made the closure of the mines seem necessary. I've played around with the filters a bit to try and achieve various effects; combined with the lovely early-20th century architecture in this game, you can get a city that feels like it hails from a different time period.




Looking down Commerce Street, circa 1930.



This sleepy neighborhood was always neglected by the town of Cobra Peak, even after incorporation in the year 1898. The best thing to happen to it was when the city finally decided to pave the street connecting it to downtown, and to extend a school bus route down that street in 1922 (this photograph was taken not long afterward. The literacy rate hovered around 5% in the best years prior to this, so the progressive city government assumed that educating these people would improve their lot in life; a rather oversimplified view of the problems.



Cobra Peak in 1944. The Second World War kicked the town's growth into overdrive. Whereas previously only light extraction operations had taken place, the need for raw materials to support the war effort led to a significant expansion of the mines, construction of smelters to produce badly needed steel, and a population explosion as unemployed citizens moved here looking for work.







Unprecedented prosperity followed the war. By 1965, the population of Cobra Peak had climbed nearly to 100,000 from about 20,000 in 1939. The downtown business district exploded, and the shotgun houses that were popular in the early days of the town had been replaced by rowhouses for the industrial working population (Photos taken 1958).



The 1960s through 1980s saw a continued expansion of the metal industry in Cobra Peak. Whereas cities like Elm Grove began to look to technology and education as paths to prosperity, Cobra Peak doubled down on metals production and export. The city prided itself on its low corporate tax rates and business-friendly environment; the city administration went so far as to underwrite the construction of mines and foundries. Yet the government still profited from the export duties, which were quietly and unassumingly levied upon the hundreds of tons of steel and other alloys being shipped from Cobra Peak (Photo taken 1972).



A small middle class rose along with the city's economy. These upwardly mobile individuals chose to live in more upscale townhouses and tract homes, a departure from the brownstone living of their parents (Photo taken 1979).



As the metals industry continued to grow relentlessly, the city grew and grew along with it (Photo taken 1983). 




And here is just a peek at the economic engine that drives Cobra Peak today. This is a city whose skyline is dominated by smokestacks and the towers of mines, and revels in the power of industry (Photo taken 1999).

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  • Original Poster
  • My second update will focus mainly on the city of Lewston, a city focused mainly on smelting, but with a large downtown commercial district and the seeds of a microchip industry. This is the oldest city in the Cobra Valley region, and home to about 100,000 Sims. There is a persistent shortage of cheap labor thanks to rising land values and rents, as well as the highest taxes in the region, altogether pricing the poorest Sims out of town. Unfortunately, no historical photographs are available; the city's historical preservation record is abysmal.



    Looking toward downtown, we can see the light rail running along Main (running horizontally from our perspective) and Commerce. The Lewston light rail has been considered a successful system, reaching all areas of town and carrying thousands of riders every hour.



    Viewing downtown from the industrial area. Several of the city's famed ore mines are visible; they are so integrated into the city that businessmen will rub shoulders with miners on the streetcar during the morning commute.




    The neighborhood visible in the foreground is the Reserve, an upscale streetcar suburb removed from the dirt and grime of the the main city. Some old-timers across the river don't really consider the Reserve to be part of the city. As for the local residents, their identity depends on whether or not the city is facing some kind of scandal.



    The Reserve is fairly self contained. Though police and fire services must cross over from the main city, the neighborhood has its own clinic, its own K-12 school, and it's own shopping district.



    A rooftop shot, looking across downtown toward Elm Grove in the background. Lewston Police HQ is visible in the foreground. The LPD is a renowned crimefighting force, and the tactics pioneered by them have been replicated throughout Cobra Valley with great success. 



    Looking down Commerce Street, near the edge of downtown. Though the streets are clear of car traffic, the sidewalk appears to be bustling.



    Some of the high end housing available in downtown Lewston. This is a fully walkable city; well-to-do Lewstonites can live, work, and play all in one place.



    Some public housing projects nearer the industrial area. This part of town has historically been less well off than other sections of the city; 60 years ago, when it was but a mere trailer park on the city's edge, an outbreak of flu swept through the area, infecting half the population. The response of the city fathers, at the behest of the National Steel Corporation, was to barricade the residents within their neighborhood to prevent the disease from spreading any further. Entire families died, but the entire story was kept quiet for years. Residents in other parts of the city were told that the area was closed off for construction, which turned out to be true in a sense: Developers bought up the entire area after the epidemic had run its course, and converted the old shotgun houses and trailers into apartment complexes. The housing projects we see here today are an attempt by the city's modern government to make up for what happened way back in the 50s, by providing the descendants of the victims with homes at nearly no cost to them.



    Main Street, blocked up with Elm Grove traffic. Only a small belt of undeveloped land separates the two cities, and commuting is commonplace.



    Lewston's greatest challenge moving forward into the 21st century is the health crisis produced by decades of polluting the earth and the air. Birth defects have been noted in Lewston hospitals, and residents complain of respiratory problems at a stunning rate. The city has responded by constructing the largest medical center in Cobra Valley, and recruiting the best public health professionals that money can buy.



    Lewston College is visible on the left as we look down Main Street from where it intersects Reserve Boulevard.



    The college was founded in 1962 as a vocational school, to provide the kind of technical education that many industrial magnates were demanding in their employees more and more. 




    This is another shot taken after the Mark Burkhart Wing was added in 2010. This wing includes a new, state of the art computer lab to support the college's growing computer science department.



    The headquarters of National Steel Corporation (yes, the same guys that left the trailer folks for dead). They also have a regional office in Cobra Peak, but Lewston is the core of the operation.



    The newest trend in high rise living!  :rofl:



    Commerce Street again, but this time at rush hour. Looks like there might have been an accident!



    The historic Palmer house, in the heart of downtown.







    Lewston is a city with one foot in the past even as it moves toward the future. Industrial smokestacks share the sky with gleaming condos and office towers, and the city continues to wrestle with what it thinks it ought to be. The steel industry remains alive and well, but there is a push from some of the younger Lewstonites for the city to get behind the rising wave of technology. "We don't live in the 20th century anymore; I just wish the guys with the money could realize that," one young student said. "We can't just keep drilling and burning forever."

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    Loving it. Your new high rise style is interesting lol. How many people does the huge mound of earth fit inside it :P ?


    The photos of all the high rises and the overviews are really nice especially the last one.


    Looking forward to more.



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