Sustainability Planning: Cities: Skylines Green Cities

Cities: Skylines has always been a bit of a drug for me, I have a thing for simulators and city builders, especially when I can manage and control everything to the finest degree, and Cities: Skyline gives me that in droves. Green Cities, the latest DLC for Cities: Skylines is now out, and offers you a bunch of new options and buildings to make your city, well, a Green City.

It’s like those hover things from WALL-E, but environmentally friendly!

The largest change, at least in my opinion, and one that has been left waiting for far too long, is the redesign of road noise mechanics. Previously noise was calculated from the type of road and the congestion, but now is calculated by the actual type of cars on the road, with large vehicles such as trucks producing more noise and quiet cars like new electric cars producing less noise. Electric cars and the redesigned noise engine are being released as a free update, but policies for banning petrol cars and incentivising electric are only in the actual DLC, so don’t expect to see many electric cars in the base game.

One of the big things of Green Cities is its host of district specialisations to completely reinvent your city. The business specialisation focuses on local production, cutting truck traffic in the district, which can be really good if you want to build a medium-sized city without the infrastructure for importing lots of goods; the office specialisation builds IT buildings, which don’t employ many people but produce more money; while the residential specialisation focuses on less electricity and garbage at the expense of less tax. These all help to construct cities that, while efficient and effective, are largely self-sustaining and don’t require much supporting infrastructure (I should try to build a high density city only using two-lane roads).

Lovely new assets really make the new sustainable housing look flash.

An environmental DLC would be remiss without actually dealing with all the pollution a big city can make. In that line of thought a new bunch of service buildings have been provided, including efficient versions of the sewage pipe and treatment plants, and recycling plants that produce less pollution, return a small amount of goods from the garbage and cause your city to produce less trash due to actually recycling. There’s also a new policy that makes any recycling plants in the district work slightly more efficiently and, finally, a much-awaited policy which massively cuts the pollution that industry buildings pump into the ground.

There are a few other new buildings, with eco kinda new-agey versions of all the schools which cost more but consume less energy and water, along with having a little less capacity. There are three new energy generation structures — geothermal, solar updraft and ocean thermal generators — which are all endgame energy plants, look very swish and fit the whole aesthetic ideal of sustainability, which is really the whole point of the DLC. On top of this, there are a few new features and a whole bunch of things to make your city look nicer.

Finally, a few small things have been introduced, such as the small but useful ability to have any info panel you want opened up while building objects, allowing you to do stuff like look at transportation networks whilst putting down a new school, or look at natural resources whilst building a new district. Roads and floating objects are now able to be made in the asset creator, and you have the ability to set up stop signs on railroad tracks, alongside a few other additions.

Generating power from the ocean! Also, tilt shift just makes every shot look great.

Overall, Green Cities is a lovely DLC for Cities: Skylines which, even discounting the free update content, has a bunch of new stuff that is great for the game. A more-or-less pollution-free end game and a slightly hard early and mid game are great additions, and the upgrades to the game’s mechanics — especially the noise recalculation which opens up a few new doors — are very welcome.

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