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Making a region have personality

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My next project was to put in a central park for Mitte. My idea was to have a large undeveloped area scattered with YIMBY items surrounded by a ring of mostly residential skyscrapers, in turn surrounded by high-density commercial. I picked the area south of my rail center, extending almost to the river. I put in the zoo to the north, the country club to the south, the main library to the east, and a mayor's statue to the southeast. I then put a number of mostly 3x3 high-density residential as well as some commercial further out.

I didn't get much development so I decided to check for wandering commuters. A lot of commuters were going north to Reinickendorf which didn't have many jobs so I switched to there, upzoned some residential, and added some more farms. When I switched back the residential zone to the west developed very quickly.


These skyscrapers obviously overloaded my transportation network so I started to put in a subway network. My basic idea was to put stations near most of the residential skyscrapers and connect to the rail centers and to commercial zones that were short of workers. While I was starting that the southern zone developed:


The western zone still didn't develop so I switched to another suburb, Heilersdorf, for some more development and bouncing back commuters. Here I did some more substantive upgrading than I had in Reinickendorf:


When I switched back now the Eastern section developed:


With this done I had expanded the subway into a ring, with some extensions to the northwest. Here's the usage from one of the southern skyscraper stations:


Next I plan to do some infill development for Mitte, which has a number of awkward junctions between developed and undeveloped regions.



For the western side of Mitte I took a similar approach to the eastern side, drawing the rail lines toward the center putting up stations and villages at the intersections. The result was not as neat as for the east, though. Here's a shot showing most of the rail structure.


I build seven new districts at or near rail intersections. Some of the more varied ones:

The University district on a island in the river. This one needed two rail stations to handle traffic.


Here's a high-rise district which I've placed up against open space for variety.


Here's where all the rail lines intersect. This is not yet heavily developed but it will be soon.


Coming up next: a central park area and surrounding neighborhoods.



Now that I' built a network around the outside of Mitte I wanted to start connecting it up toward the center. My plan is to run a line from each of the rail stations on the ring in towards the middle and build stations where they meet up. Along each line will be industrial developments and on their borders will be more commercial zones.. In the areas between I'll have residential and industrial regions. Later I plan to take out the rail lines and convert the regions to grand boulevards.

So I went to Mitte, ran the rail lines inward from the eastern stations and discovered all three met at the same place, which was convenient. I build a largish medium density neighborhood between the middle and lower lines and a smaller neighborhood between the middle line and the river. Here's a map showing the structure of the lines:


Here's a pic of one of the industrial corridors


Here's the higher-density residential area. Initially I was getting a lot of abondonment and I had to upgrade several streets and add a lot of mass transit for it to work.


And here's the area near the river:


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Finally I went to all the regions what were getting rail commuters (Biesdorf, Kopenick, and Charlottenberg. I added some industry to all of them, improved the mass transit from the stations, and increased the residential density. I didn't make any major changes, so I'll skip pics for now.


My next goal was to build a couple of towns adjacent to Mitte, each connected by rail with a village on the outskirts of Mitte itself, to help drive a functional layout for Mitte itself. The first adjacent town was to the north-northwest, which I named Reinckendorf. I decided to make this a farm-heavy city. I may later develop to the State Fair and revamp it as a kind of amusement park area. This connected to an existing village in Mitte.


Next was the town to the north-northeast, which I named Heilersdorf. This I structure as a more linear town stretching out along the rail line. The line will later continue along a series of lakes to the north.

I connected this to a new village in Mitte, which I envisioned as a lower-rent industrial district. Planning the village to come next I realized they'd merge and so I did them both together. I did this village with a tight grid, different from what I've been doing.


To the east-northeast there was a nearby lake so I designed the town here, Biesdorf, with the idea of later developing large residential buildings on the cliffs. I added industrial zones going out on the rail as my industrial demand was starting to get high. I powered this with windmills only to get a green town feel.


Finally I added Kopenick to the east-southeast. I decided to use this as the regional dump but I went ahead and added two villages along a rail line heading just inland from the river. The first village nearer to Mitte was intended as the nicer section of town. I put in some diagonals for variety but building around them resulted in a real traffic mess. At present it doesn't matter but later I may have to do some serious redevelopment.


The second village is more industrial and may end up bordering the landfill eventually.


I added a village in Mitte connected to Kopenick by rail and let Mitte run for a while. At the end the region around Mitte looked like this.


Next will be to start on a center for Mitte.


Commuting Problems

On recent region maps I noticed the southeast corner of Konradshohe wasn't too developed even though it should be a big job center. So I jumped in to take a look.


There was a lot of pollution from the industry I'd put in at the start. I figured that was impeding development, so I bulldozed all the dirty industry. I figured with my extremely negative ID demand it wouldn't come back but it did to some extent so I had to keep bulldozing for a while.

The area still didn't develop so I took a look at commuters. I figured the single bridge from west Konradshohe would be a big bottleneck. Sure enough, it was totally full. I put in a subway just from one end of the bridge to the other and both stations were immediately full. I extended the subway to a stop on the avenida at the edge of the all-residential zone and then another in the avenida in the middle of the residential zone and they were immediately packed too.

Now my commercial areas developed some. My population went up from 95,000 to 105,000 as well


However, I though it should be more than that. Looking through the city, I found lots of partly-filled commercial buildings. Konradshohe is currently resident-heavy, so I wondered were the residently were going to work. Poking around I found the answer - a ridiculously overcrowded connection to Tegel, with 7500 commuters.


Tegel only has about 5000 jobs. This might be because Tegel is behind in time, plus it has a job excess. I decided to push up its residents to see if I could push those commuters back.

Shifting over to Tegel, I added some people but there were still a ridiculous number of people coming in from Shonwald-Glien. They were leaving out to the north to create a classic infinite commuter loop


I cut that and they switched to the train. So I cut the train connection (temporarily, I hoped). Then the lost commuters proceeded to cross half the tile, mostly on rural streets made badly overcrowded by their own presence, to exit another highway to the north. At this point I gave up, decided "if you can't beat them, join them. I organized the route they took and put commercial along the new route. I put in a lot of medium commercial.


And still they headed out. The commuter chain passed within 1 square of buildings downgraded for lack of workers on their overcrowded commute across town to their nonexistent jobs. Since they wouldn't take the jobs, I grew Tegel to over 50,000 to fill the jobs I added. Finally I cut all exits for the commuters. That cut them back by about half, which would be more reasonable. But back in Konradshohe, there are still 7500 workers heading out. I suppose Tegel may end up the commercial center rather than the east bank of Schonwalde-Glien and Konradshohe. Anyway, here's a shot of the region at the end.



I decided to install an improved traffic model (the NAM Z) although without anything else from the NAM. I wanted to get a simulator that would consider travel times, not basically just distance like the default model, because one of my goals is a functioning region. To me, that means logical traffic setups should get used. The rest of the NAM I left out because, for now at least, I'd like to stay as vanilla as possible. I also added the roadtop transit mod, based on suggestions from the comments. This isn't a necessary mod, but it does mean I can introduce mass transit to existing streets without major reconstruction. In this case I can be freer with village layouts as I don't have to think as much about what I'll do when I get to high density. Armed with my transit improvements, I decided to upzone the denser areas on the east and see how they worked.

I started with Schonwalde-Glien. This is a city I plan to eventually put to high density. It's laid out with an avenida grid. The city is mixed-use, unlike Konradshohe, which has residential, industrial, and commercial zones largely separate from each other. At the start, the east bank had denser development. Dirty industry is mostly in the north, and consequently the less-desirable residential development.


Regionally I've had a high demand for R$ so I upzoned northern areas. However, although there was some development, the population didn't increase. After running the sim for a while, I went to the southern area to upgrade that. It still didn't have much of an increase. Finally I added some parks and a private school and that got the population up from about 55,000 to about 65,000. I upzoned the commercial areas to get some matching jobs; most of the response was along the southern bridge, which has high traffic.


I didn't want to make the west bank too heavily developed as I have not yet put in cities to the west and north and so I need Schonwalde-Glien lightly developed on those sides to look reasonable on the region map.

Next I moved to Konradshohe. Unlike Shonwalde-Glien, upzoning the residental areas produced respectable pop growth, from about 75,000 to about 95,000. I was surprised by this, since the traffic in Konradshohe is actually quite a bit worse due to the large single-use blocks inherited from the city in the region start.


I put in a commercial zone along a bridge in the south which goes from the residential area in the west to a commercial/industrial zone in the southeast.


With my finances and demands looking better than the last time I was here, I extended the rail from Brieselang to the east through the industrial area. The demolished industry did not redevelop as it's too polluted for high-tech and my other industrial demands are negative here. I filled in the area between the original industrial area and the original residential area with greenspace, commercial, and solar plant buffers.


Finally the extra development in Konradshohe was making the border with Spandau start to look a little odd since Spandau isn't developed there. I put in a small low-density neighborhood in Spandau for a transition.


And finally here's the region shot. The increased density is noticeable in Konradshohe and Schonwalde-Glien.



Eastward Ho!

Continuing along a rail line to Mitte, I moved on to the next town, Charlottenberg. I planned on two light industry towns along the railroad heading east, and a residential/resort town to the south - basically the same structure as Wilhelmstadt. The first rail town, to the west, ended up with a lot of greenspace:


The second town was built similarly to the second resort town in Wilhelmstadt. This time, though, the beaches went on the canal to the north. I had an avenue connecting to the mainland as this would be the primary road access to the island. The net effect was to move the focus of the town north so it partially merged with the first town:


The rail line had to jog a bit north for the last town to dodge a pond. I built this town to become more dense than the others I built recently with several north-south avenues. By this time my industrial demand was really low and nobody wanted to build in the industrial areas.


All the greenspace does indeed make a difference: I got a news report proclaiming Charlottenberg a green city - in spite of that respectable industrial district. Nice to get a reward for that work. I put a rail museum in for spacing and after some development here's the whole district:


In spite of my industry demand problems I decided to go ahead and start with some plans for Mitte. My basic idea is to build a ring of rail towns around a center of "nice stuff" and develop over time into a radially oriented city showcasing a reasonably attractive city center. I haven't yet decided what to put in the middle yet so I'm going to start with the rail town ring. Continuing the rail line over from Charlottenberg the line passes near a small lake so I plan for a village along the edge. The village is mixed use, with some farming to differentiate it from the Charlottenberg towns. After passing through the center of town I split the line into three parts: one northeast, to go clockwise, one south, for counterclockwise, and one east, to connect to the center (eventually).


The village isn't quite financially stable, so I continue along the ring to build another rail town, with a connection to the NNW adjoining region. This village is built largely as a farming community. Here's a night shot:


And, finally, here's a shot of the region as it stands. I've had to zoom out to accommodate the eastward rail extension.



I've decided to make the one large city on the region map (roughly Mitte, the center of Berlin in the real world) into a large railroad junction. For this, I'll need a lot of railroads coming into Mitte so building rail towards Mitte will occupy me for quite a while. First I want to extend the line along the river to Berlin. I started with Wilhelstadt.

First, I extended the rail and highway to the edge of the map. I planned for the next village to be on the lake in the east. The overall plan was straightforward with industrial areas on the railroad, residential away from rail and avenues, and a mix of commercial and residential inbetween. However, after the endless advisor whining for trees, I decided to conserve some more forested areas to see if it helps. The elemetary school interestingly became an environmental magnet school in between a small forest and the lake. I used some further reward buildings, including City Hall and the minor league stadium, to help buffer the industry from the rest of the town. Here's a picture of the industrial region.


I also wanted to expand the resort area to the south. I placed a bunch of beaches along the river. Because I tend to build a mix of low and medium residential but mostly medium density commercial, my demand was mostly residential, so I built most of the village as medium-density residential - a "cheap beach" to complement the nicer area to the west. Again, I tried to conserve trees. The area developed quickly, although more heavily low-income than I expected with all those beaches. Jobs are a problem and I'm going to have to work on the transit soon.


Finally, here's a pic of the developing region



Konradshohe's west bank remained awkward looking - too blocky and too abrupt a transition at the edge of the zones. The tight streets of the residential secion aren't going to get along with mass transit, either. The eastern side is as I intended - a broad grid suitable for skyscaper upgrades later. The eastern side is relatively strongly zoned by my standards, with mostly residential to the north and mostly commercial/industrial to the south.


I added a transition zone between the industrial and residential zone with the solar power plants I can now build and some commercial zones. I upgraded the roads running north and west from the residential area to double-road avenues. I also added a Museum of Solar Industry next to one of the power plants.


On the west side I put an avenue for traffic and added a neighborhood mostly to the river but with a more irregular edge.


On the south side I added some irregular low-density residential.


As I was lettting this develop my residential and commercial demand crashed. I figured this was a traffic problem and pushed the avenue to the industrial section partway through the old development, along with bus routes. However, this didn't help. Poking around I eventually found I'd developed a big garbage problem. I'd been shipped garbage to a nearby city, but had neglected to upgrade the amount and Konradhohe got swamped with 60,000 tons. So I put in a waste-to-power plant, a recycling center, and waited a couple years. When garbage got below 50,000 tons, things went back to normal.

Meanwhile I decided to extend the industrial block to the east. I started a rail in the midde of the industrial section but only on the edge of the map as my demands were already messed up and I didn't want to add to the chaos by demolishing several blocks of industry. I then switched to the next city over, named it Breiselang, and took a look. There was a pair of ponds near where I wanted to build so I decided to put in a resort town. I put a ring avenue around the ponds, some irregular development, connected the rail and road, and got a quaint little weekend retreat area.


Unfortunately for the vacationers, Konradshohe' industry moved in along the railroad and disrupted the town's atmosphere, in both senses.


I'm sure the mayor of Brieselang will have some interesting decisions to make.

Finally, here's what the overall region looks like. It's much more organic and I plan to work on spreading out and planning for a second center in the large town roughly where the center of the real Berlin is.



Tweaking Tegel

Tweaking Tegel

Next on the agenda was fixing the appearance for Tegel. In the game region, it's laid out with farm top to bottom on the right, even filling the corner and looking very gamey and fake. The suburb I put in in the lower corner had helped some there but the top still needed fixing bad. I also wanted to connect up my rails in Wilhelstadt and that meant running a railroad through or around both my suburb and the original Tegel town. Here's a picture of Tegel at the start.


First I put a rail through my suburb. After a lot of thinking I took a route to minimize disruption to built areas by mostly using the remaining farms. My doubled streets interfered with the needed diagonal crossing, and in the end I had to take out one of my street crossings. This does make me think of what neighborhoods look like when rail goes through, so I'm pretty happy with this.


For the original Tegel village the pond just to its south meant I had to go all the way through it or dodge it to the south. I went to the south over a narrow sandspit between the lake and the pond. I added a passenger station just on general principles. I also connected the railroad south to Wlhelmstadt, although I had to move the connection, which looked like to was going to an inland area from Wilhelmstadt but turn out the come out the the middle of a strange little awkward strip of land.

Next I put another suburb in the northeast corner. I crammed it all the way into the corner to improve the match with Konradshohe and Heligensee. I also added a rail link connected to the rail line in the south with a bus stop the connects to Konradshohe's bus network, so passengers on the train system have somewhere to go.


Finally here' s a pic of the region. Tegel now looks pretty good and, while you can't see it, there's some logic to the train system now.



Starting Wilhelmstadt

Here's a pic of the Wilhelmstadt area at start. My plan is to build some light industry towns on the upper land area and some resort towns on the lower. For the start I decided to build just one resort town adjacent to Spandau.


I started by extending one of the avenues from Spandau. I saw it was going to run right against a pond so I routed it a little south to go around. Then I decided to put in a little neighborhood in the triangular area between the pond and the canal dividing the land areas, like so:


Next I wanted to put in the elementary school so I would know where I could put residential developments (all Sims should have a primary school education; I'm sure it's in the the United Sim Nations Declarations of Sim Rights). But, I found the little neighborhood fit with an elementary school in the north areas, not the southern area I had planned to start with. Whoops. So I have to do the upper town first.

I laid in a mostly-residential area at the western tip for the start. Then I had to think about how to do the railroads. I wanted one going east to the one large area on the region map, where I'm thinking of making a railroad nexus. I also needed one going up to Tegel to link up to existing areas. I decided to make the one going east a straight shot while the one to Tegel would be diagonal and then go north. They would both connect to a station on the east side of my first town.

I started the game up and things developed pretty well. Here's a pic of the industry town:


While that was developing I laid out the resort town. I used avenues and large blocks to continue the adjacent section of Spandau. While I was working I got the Resort Hotel award and I put it next to a beach next to the river. I zoned 2 4x4 commercial areas and they developed into malls, which is a good fit. Otherwise I used a commercial-residential mix. Later I plan to put more beaches along the southern shore. Here's a pic of the resort town:


And here's the region pic.



Hi all!

This diary will document my efforts in building a large dense metropolis using the standard Berlin region.


The goal of this region is to produce a region that looks good on the region map while being highly functional in SimCity. I'm not going to try to replicate the actual Berlin although I will be using place names from areas at least close by in real-world Berlin for atmosphere.


Since Berlin is a very flat map there will be a tendency to "overgrid" which will not look good on the region map. To forestall this I plan to precede city development by first building towns linked up with roads and rail. As the I proceed outward, I'll go back and build up the places I've had before. Hopefully this will impart a more organic nature to the city as it grows.

Generally I favor a more European-style development, with mixed-use development and preferring public transit over highways. This partly reflects what I think makes a good city, and partly reflects that highways are hard to build and hard to get the sims to use.

What I've already done:

I started with the existing built areas even though they are pretty ugly - blocky and overzoned. I added a double-road grid on the east side of the river for Spandau and Konradhohe, and extended it upward to a new city in Shonwalde-Glien. I added a lot more suburban development to Spandau, mostly extending along the railroad down to the industrial area. I added a new city in Heligensee around two towns to provide a transition zone from Schonwalde-Glien. I added a town and some industrial development to Tegel to soften the boundary with Konradshohe.

Coming up soon:

Berlin is a big railroad city and I want to expand and intensify the rail network. I plan to extend the rail line in Spandau west to a new industry town and east into Tegel. I want to put in a industry town in the northern part of Wilhemstadt and a beach resort town in the south. Finally, I want to put some border areas on the currently open areas next to Konradshoe and Schonwalde-Glien.

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