Today Biffa Teaches Us – OH MY GOODNESS – BOAT JAM!!! When Congestion Hits the Waterways in #CitiesSkylines . Also Integrated Planning!

All in one urban planning


Apologies for the run of Cities Skylines posts at the moment. Things got a bit busy over the last three weeks and will continue to do so through until around August thus normal (non Cities Skylines) posts will be a bit lower than average.


No matter as fellow City Skyliner Biffa is in the middle of giving the Park Life DLC a good thrashing with everything that could happen – happen – including a pesky EF5 tornado!


Today we look at rather interesting log jam or should I say boat jam at the cruise ship terminal that would even make Port of Auckland blush:

Couple of lesson in the above episode:

  1. Pays to write down what you might want to put in before starting on a major expansion of any City. Consider it doing your Auckland (Spatial) Plan first
  2. Cities Skylines has no separate agencies like real cities do that handle separate functions that keeps a city running – that is you are required to do the capital expenditure  – all of it


Integrated Planning

One often overlooked fact in Cities Skylines is the actual amount of integrated planning required by the player to keep the city running. As we know with Cities there is the CAPEX – that is the physical investment of infrastructure etc and then there is the OPEX – the running of services. The game AI is quite adaptive in running the OPEX side of the City through the various “departments” just as we would see in real life. Of course when you alter the budget it will affect the level of service provided to the City and the Cims. If you have the Transport Lines Manager or Improved Public Transport Mods then you get to be like Auckland Transport and get to set the level of individual services for each transit line you might have. And if you are like me and not Auckland Transport Metro you tend to have most of your services running 24 hours and find out that a 40 seater bio fuel bus isn’t cutting the mustard as there is a heck load of Cims still moving about even at 3am on a Wednesday morning!!!


While the OPEX side is handled by your City’s departments (unless you are playing around with the Transport Line Manager) the CAPEX side is all left in your hands. Whether it is building road and rail, placing down ports or rail hubs, establishing water and power infrastructure (gets more fun when you run District Central Heating) or plopping the zones there is no separate Government departments that do this like in real life – there is just me! Yep ME!


In order to have my City function at least at a basic level I am going to have to think quite extensively of what I want and where I want to place it. While Urban Design will enter into the equation (especially with Park Life as you need to micro detail the green spaces) I am more faced with an Urban Geography situation when building or expanding a City in Cities Skylines. That is how will the spatial development occur, the variations, and the behaviours of the City once I have finished the building and let go of the pause button!

In Auckland things are a bit of a mess when it comes down to the CAPEX side of the ledger in City building. We have all these agencies (main Council itself, Auckland Transport, Panuku, NZTA, Kiwi Rail and so on) that are part of the City fabric and all have CAPEX and OPEX duties to keep Auckland running. The problem is that our agencies are most often run in silos (classic example is Auckland Transport and the Regional Land Transport Program: Auckland Regional Land Transport Program 2018-2028 Feedback and Report Going to AT Board – Did Anything Change?) and we get a fragmented approach to City building. Simply put there is no Integrated Land Use/Transport planning in Auckland even though the Auckland Spatial Plan 2050, and the Government Policy Statement demands it:

Integrated Land use/Transport Planning in the GPS. Source: NZ Government


Transit Orientated Developments are the ultimate expression of Integrated Land Use/Transport Planning – something as an Urban Geographer I am very well aware of and am driving very hard to have it done with the respective public agencies. An example of this can be seen here: The Southern Airport Line – More than a Light Rail Line – A Community and City Builder Too!


In Cities Skylines I am required to be a: Geographer, Planner, Designer, Engineer and Behaviourist specialist in order to build and have a well-functioning City (and also why around half the people technically struggle at the game looking at the Steam forums). Because while it is easy to plop stuff down and let rip the question asked is how well is that city functioning – probably not well at all.

In short Cities Skylines forces me to bust the walls down of the agencies and be that Integrated Planner from get go if I want to have a well functioning City. Biffa outlines this very well in his series and my posts on it have it as the constant theme – just like the GPS above. It is also why I believe in a central Agency like Minister Twyford’s Urban Development Ministry to be the main central force driving all integrated planning at least in Auckland and other major urban areas (see: Urban Geography: The Ultimate Expression in Inter Regional Spatial Planning, Developments and Behaviours)


So in conclusion yes Biffa had a bit of a boat jam but at the end of the day if we all want a well-functioning City then Integrated Land Use/Transport Planning is an absolute must – and you are in charge of it all! No FOBBING it off to other agencies – it all comes back to you!!!