#1 – Palacia

DISCLAIMER: I use mods. A LOT.

This first city journal (CJ) will be about Palacia, which has been a city existing in my mind for some ten years now. Although some previous incarnations existed in paper or university lecture handouts, only the Cities:Skylines version will be canon.

A little introduction (The rest will be tackled in Palacia’s fictional history page, soon): Palacia is the capital city of the fictional country of Athansia (The United States of Athanasia). It is in a middle southern part of the country. Dubbed the novum caput mundi, it’s one of the largest cities in the world (which is an entirely fictional world, too), a leading global and cultural hub, and the leading financial center of the world.

Pre-Game Map Preparations

In this city, I used this map of Rostock, Germany from Steam Workshop. I modified it a bit to fit my purposes. I then entered map editing mode for these first touches.

First, I extended the ship paths to at least inside the Breitling so that I can make use of the piers inside it, just like in real-life Rostock. I also smoothed both banks of the northern part of the river, where I envision the bustling city center to be, and so giving it a nice riverside promenade in the future.

I also modified the highway system. I like beltways/ring roads and radial roads so much, so I modified the currently existing highways in that map and made my own. Since I’m using 81 tiles mod, I built the circumferential road (ring road) outside the 25-tile city limit, then created radial roads that point to the center of the map. Even if suppose I didn’t use the 81 tiles mod, it will serve the same purpose: to minimize traffic in the inner districts.

I also left the radial roads unconnected, so that when I start the game for real, I’ll just adjust their route accordingly with the city’s growth pattern (or with some pre-planned roads I have in mind). I also plan to have 3 ring roads, and this one I built is the outermost one. The innermost radial road will be centered not on the planned “downtown”, but somewhere south, surrounding the port area.

I’m also planning a 16th-century walled city/district near the port area (so that it looks like the city has a historical center, but the current center will have moved northward long since). I’ll also be including that district inside the innermost ring road.

Hit save, and let’s start the game!

The In-Game

The Old City

I’m fond of putting an old, walled city in this capital city I am planning, fully surrounded by a planned capital. Its past incarnations (in Cities:XL, and the first ever Palacia a few years ago) also had such a walled city and a citadel. Perhaps I’m inspired by Manila, which has its own Intramuros.

With that, I created an outline of my walled city using small roads. I made it into an elongated, shield-shaped perimeter. I also attempted (and later on somewhat failed) in making bastions and ravelins so that it resembles a 14th-to-15th-century city inside a star fort.

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The old city area. Ruined citadel is south, near the tutorial box.

I then drew a wide avenue around the old city. While it’s not a highway (just a normal road), it is part of the circumferential highway system centered around the old city. I call this road C1.

“New Downtown”

A few kilometers north from the old city walls, on the west bank of the river, I built the future downtown/business district/city center.

The district has a more defined grid centered on a park just in front of City Hall. I formed a semicircle to enclose the city hall, and built five avenues to radiate from it. These five avenues converge to City Hall, but it would not be the main highway system — that would be the ring and radial roads centered on the old city.

The first grid was built on the riverbanks. The plan is to extend and adapt this grid up to at least the second ring road (circumferential highway) from the old city, adapting to the orientations of the main roads in the area.

I built a temporary city hall to gauge the ideal width should I replace the building later on. I then used this building as the Capitol building (though I’m making my own capitol building using SketchUp/3DS Max, after which this building will become City Hall again).
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Around the area, I built several other structures that I want.
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Republic Hill

I will be placing the home of my country’s legislature on the exact opposite side of the river, facing City Hall. To emphasize that this building is of great importance, I will raise a hill on the east bank to elevate the building. I’m calling this Republic Hill and will be writing a history about it later.

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Later on, I managed to build the Capitol building, although I’m currently working on a larger replacement. I also put colonnades so that it looks palatial from the other side.

Government Center

The National Government Center (or more formally the National Government Center) is the district where most of the federal government’s offices are located. It’s distinct from Republic Hill (only the legislature is in Republic Hill, but it’s located right behind it.

My earliest plan for the government center is to put a large park, similar to the National Mall, behind the legislative building. This park ends in a circle with an obelisk (much like the Washington Monument), and from this circle begins a huge, wide road that can be used normally and ceremonially. Many other roads also originate from the circle. On both sides of the huge park will be departments/ministries and basically most government offices.

As I worked on it, I had the idea making the park (which I called Revolution National Park) a cultural center instead of a mere expanse surrounded by busy people in government buildings. I thought it’s a way to bring the government closer to the people. However, it’s not called the National Government Center for nothing — the government had to be there. The end result was a compromise; Both sides had museums and the theater, while behind them are the complexes of federal government buildings.

Laying the Basic Grid

Going back to the river’s west bank, I started laying out the basic street layout, which will be the foundation of that side of the city’s growth. As for the east bank, I cannot work on its layout yet as it is where I plan to put most of the custom buildings I’m working on right now, and I plan to concentrate a greater percentage of the population on the west bank.

Basically, what I planned for is a basic street grid. However, we all know we can’t just slap a grid on a piece of land without actually considering its topography and general geography. So I started working on a grid that follows the contour of the riverbank where I can.

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The basic street grid of Palacia

While not entirely obvious, even the diamond and the deviating avenues west of City Hall are a a solution to follow the riverbank’s contour. By doing this I accomplish two goals:

  1. By making a diagonal avenue that’s almost parallel to the northern contour of the west bank, I managed to make a huge percentage of the city grid follow that contour without having to ridiculously bend the roads east of city hall just to follow the river contour.
  2. I effectively broke the grid, which also breaks the monotony.

It is in this basis that the city grew, and this pattern continues to the present, since I haven’t broke the grid yet. Again.

Epilogue

Several days passed, the city grew to include a railroad station, a very busy port area, a university, and several parks. I will discuss more of these in the following blogs. For now, here are pictures.

Enjoy!

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