Paradox Interactive prepares to subject fans to their vision of ‘Ecotopia’

For city building nerds everywhere, tomorrow is an exciting day: Paradox Interactive will release their long-awaited, and probably most extensive, expansion to Cities Skylines: “Green Cities”. The latest DLC for the popular SimCity clone (and successor, I suppose), will feature 350 new assets including dozens of new buildings, new policy options, and new specializations for city zones.

Curiously, Paradox’s vision of “green cities” does not include mixed-use zoning (where residential and commercial activities occupy the same building) or medium density zones, which, at least in real life, would allow a more human-scale, walkable urban environment. But, whatever, I’m sure the solar panels and green rooftops will look cool, right??

Green roofs and new buildings are cool and all, but what about mixed-use and medium density, huh?

While we’re on the subject of… well, mostly complaining… Cities Skylines does a terrible job discouraging auto-dependency. Sure, there are plenty of transit options, especially with the “Mass Transit” expansion released this past May, but the ugly side effects of car mania are usually pretty well hidden. Most notably is the almost complete lack of parking lots — compared with a real city, Cities Skylines probably features no more than a tenth of the amount of parking it would actually take to accommodate as many vehicles as there would be.

And don’t get me started about issues of social sustainability or environmental justice… that stuff is pretty heavy and, naturally, completely ignored by the simulation.

What i’d really love to see is medium-density, mixed use development like here in Denver.

Admittedly, compared with things like green roofs and solar panels, these issues are probably a bit more difficult to address within the simulation. This would explain why Paradox continues to shun well-excepted ideals in modern urban planning. But it’s still a bummer.

So, will I buy “Green Cities”? Eh, yeah, probably… when it goes on sale.

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