Pimpville: A Clean, Pretty City
by Brian Jaeger
Pimpville was born a few weeks ago in my basement. I had never played Simcity before, so I knew as much about the game as most politicians know about planning for a real city. I decided to have both a seashore and a river since people like water. I liked the site of Pimpville better than the other cities I tried later, so I kept going back to it, even when times were tough.
I began like everyone else, I'm sure. I dropped a solar power plant near the edge of town, putting a few roads around it. I then zoned some heavy industrial areas. Soon, I had a thriving metropolis of 200, but it just wasn't growing very fast. I decided to just keep spending money- more roads, power plants, industrial and residential zoning, parks... anything. I was always running out of money, too, so I halted all spending and raised taxes. Then I took out a bond. Boy, was I screwed! I clicked the disasters icon and started a fire and a flood. I got some advice from my fellow planners at school and on the internet and I started over with the same city.
this time Pimpville began to kick ass, as I didn't drop spending down to nothing on the transit authority, realizing why I had to replace the roads all the time.
From the beginning, I wanted to zone uses fairly close together. Every time I would build a new power plant, I'd also try to set up a new community. I tended to put industrial right around the plant. Within a block or two, though, you could find heavy residential and commercial areas. I tended to keep only the light residential away from the other uses. I tried to make mixed uses my theme throughout this project. These mixed uses, I would hope, created the sense of community that I also wanted in my city. Some areas were not too great for mixed uses, like hilltops, so I tried to make those appealing as light residential zones (people like hills as well as water).
Speaking of water... I sure had trouble keeping everybody watered. I didn't want to waste recreational space along the river for water, but I was forced to compromise. I eventually tried to stick in a bunch of water towers, but I was too far behind demand for the darn things to ever fill up. (They should be nice as art when kids spray them with graffiti). The kids in Pimpville were educated fairly well. I built a school and a college before my population passed 20,000, and both operated on A level for a while. One of the graduates even won an award!
The children also got a bit of a street education, as I kept spending way down for police for a while. Eventually, after numerous complaints, I had to build a jail and increase spending to the doughnut force. I even did away with legalized gambling to clean up the streets of Pimpville. They did give me hell... the streets, I mean. Commuters were complaining monthly and that silly helicopter kept reporting heavy traffic. I started to build a light-rail type train thingy, but I just couldn't bear to tear down half the city. I tried a subway instead. That sucked, especially money. I only got a few hundred people to ride it, too. On the newer side of town, I just stuck a whole bunch of bus depots in, with a total of about 3000 riders. I also chopped some of my original blocks into halves or fourths, but I refused to ever build a highway, because we can't build our way out of traffic problems. The only thing I could think of would be to try a rail service, or smaller blocks to reduce traffic.
Tax and spend was the motto for Pimpville. I built up a population base with low taxes, but then I taxed well to provide better services. In this game, what you put into it is what you get out. More money for schools or police or fire protection equals better service. I couldn't privatize if I wanted to. Parks worked, as I knew they would, since people like water, hills, and parks. My football stadium attendance was well below league average, but my team had a great record, and 7000 people had something to do on Sundays. My whole concept of mixed uses may have worked, as the city did grow, but whether people are really happy with industry in their backyards is a bit of a mystery.
My pragmatic way of building the roads was probably my biggest mistake. Sure, I started with a grid, but I'd always get side-tracked. I tried to limit cul-de-sacs and diagonals where possible, but I had to build fast and cheap to keep up with demand. My water system never worked well, either. Nobody gets pissed off about drinking water, unless they don't have any, and water shortages plagued Pimpville from day 1.
In all, I feel Pimpville was a success. The 100 years chart shows me that population is rising steadily, and traffic congestion is actually dropping. Education could use a little boost, as well as health care, but my unemployment rate is almost not there. Besides all my achievements on the graph, I have a boatload of money in the bank. I could spend it in all sorts of cool ways, like having CPR training, or just build more parks, or more trees, since people like water, hills, parks ,and trees.
My bachelor pad is in a really awesome spot, just on the new side of town. I wanted to be by the water, so I live right near where the Jaeger River empties into the ocean. I built a little hill a block away with a park on top. I also have a park a block away in the other direction, not to mention a forest . I also have a wonderful view of the John O. Norquist Memorial Bridge, because people like water, hills, parks, trees, and pretty bridges.