#CitiesSkylines and Urban Simulators: Delivering Memes on our Shortcomings in Planning and Transport

These problems are preventable. Also: Mild Language

In the weekend I managed to sum up New Zealand Planning and Transport in two tweets: New Zealand’s Planning in One Short Tweet

And again while the Northern Hemisphere has adapted to using ever more complex urban simulators like Cities Skylines it is yet again New Zealand seems to be behind the 8-ball to the point of openly hostile of using such simulators as a tool in planning and transport. Yet we keep making the same mistakes over and over again as we either reinvent the wheel or continuously do the Wrong Things Better approach.

By the way an example of the Northern Hemisphere embracing urban simulators:

And here is us reinventing the wheel:

And so with a little help from a certain Urban Simulator I put together some memes that sum up the state of our planning and transport both here in NZ and Australia.

Here we go:

Starting with cycling and how even the easiest of solutions in this case escape our politicians:

Queen Street can be very easily converted into a transit mall where cars are removed and the road space given to busses, scooters and bikes. But in typical NZ and Auckland fashion we need some pontificating by our elected officials and our transport authorities first – that goes of for years before we even get some action. Meanwhile the congestion gets worse and the amenity of a premier space continues to decrease.

The issue of cycling continues with ponitification around cycle-ways ongoing. However, some very recent changes in Auckland Transport might clear the blockages for better cycling infrastructure thus we should be seeing less of this next one:

There is no such thing as a price on safety. You just simply do it. Separate cyclists and scooter users from pedestrians – it is that simple. No really it is!

In Geography and Social Anthropology Whiteness is often talked about at depth when it comes to policy decisions. With urban trees it is no different with the prevailing ideology of that trees block views rather than trees provide wildlife refuge and even refuge for overheating humans. This next Tweet shows the deep irony of Whiteness when it comes to trees:

I place trees EVERYWHERE in my cities even though they can cause the odd wildfire (cue some better planning around fire responses to mitigate that small issue) with the only restriction being the Agent Limit the game places (PC’s do not have infinite power). Even an Urban Simulator simulates out what happens when trees are placed in an urban area:

  • Sound of birds and wildlife
  • Reduction of city noise
  • Reduction of air pollution (urban forests do great as buffers between motorways, industrial districts and residential areas
  • Slow down flooding
  • Raise property values – yeah that one

So come on folks, lets plant trees!

Whiteness continues this time with cars in Centres:

This one comes up time and time again yet still Whiteness yells that removing parking will kill business. No it is the fact parking is killing your business and by removing it from the main street amenity increases thus with amenity increases more people are likely to come into the area, stay longer thus spend more. Because who wants to drink their coffee at the Main Street with noisy polluting cars, trucks and busses going by adding fumes to that flat white? Not me!

We move to transit now and how transport authorities stuck in the 9-5 commute mindset are more of a hazard to cities than Lime Scooters whipping down Queen Street:

Fastest way to hobble your night time economy is not provide the transit services to support it. Yet this is what Auckland Transport does especially over the Summer holiday period where there is no 9-5 commuting but plenty of tourists around.

In my own cities I have transit running 24/7 with most routes going (industrial routes might be restricted to 5am-11pm and if so are backed up by taxis anyway) and heck I can pack out trains, subways, trams and metro services quite easy – and that is using 135 seater busses, 422 seater trams and 800 seater subway or heavy rail trains. Simply put build them and people will use them – even 3am on a Wednesday!

In the end it all came back to this:

In the end Brent Toderian sums up the state of our Cities and Planning:

Where is our City at today Source: Toderian UrbanWorks

If you are not sure then check this final photo out as we still do this today:

Design Fail

Urban simulators – if nothing else they provide good memes for the basic stuff Cities screw up all the time.

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