To start, I began with 4-RHW as basic highways, expanding as needed. What I did differently than most users is I started building away from the future downtown area until I had enough demand for mid-rise commercial buildings. I built low-rise housing and worked inwards, meanwhile building the industrial zones primarily in the neighboring city of East Benard, which still has almost all of the Dirty Industry in the region.
In the past I have used ordinance mods to speed things up, but nearly every high-density zone soon became a skyscrapper. I didn't want to do that this time. I wanted a realistic experience. So, I used the NAM and some custom building mods. I did not use any crime/fire/education/medical mods either. However, I did use the "Blackhole" building mod to get rid of trash (not enough room to build all those unsightly landfills).
So here is my region, still a work in progress:
If you have any comments or advice, please feel free.
Thank you for reading.