A comprehensive Guide to Beautiful Building: I. District Categories

Hello fellow city mayors!

Don’t you know the feeling when you want to open up a new district, but you have no idea on how to do so? Are you missing inspiration? A plan?

Well maybe this guide could help you out a little! In my countless hours of building, I believe I found my own style of setting up roads in a functional, yet beautiful way.

I will try to guide you through my own way of designing cities, while explaining my thoughts on some stuff, that I find important when aiming for something nice to look at.

The first question you must ask yourself is “What is this district for?”

These are my categories:

  • Heavy residential with commerce
  • “Estate”-type residential with a bit of tourism
  • Heavy industry (ore, oil and general)
  • Natural industry (agriculture and timber)
  • Tourism and/or leisure heavy districs
  • Office districts

The road-type-pattern.


Picking the right road, often is a first stept to something beautiful and functional. Mixing and matching roads with and without trees can sometimes be nice, but most of the time, it is not quite worth it.

I prefer the bland roads in heavy industry, because of the pollution. It also feels more realistic, because who would plant trees in industrial districs anyways?

The exception would be Timber and Agriculture districts. Those are often more nature-bound, but in the same time, they have a different road-design in my games (more on that later)

Residential: Capital district or suburbs?

Depending on whether or not you choose to build a capital-style neighbourhood, your building layout will be more or less symmetric.

I love to have a so-called “old town”, a big block of symmetrized roads filled with high density residents and commerce.


(the park in the middle can be found here.)

But, while symmetry is sort of an indicatior of beauty, breaking the mirrors can have it’s charm too!

As for suburbs, or just regions alongside motorways, I prefer to build according to the topography of the map.

Speaking of topography, building alongside cliffs and shores is always beautiful to look at. But, likewise, it is also fun to sometimes just break the topography and put your civilized stamp on a mountain. After all, you dominate the map đŸ˜€


Industry regions come in two kinds: “Renewable” ressources and heavy industry. Since the feel of these two kinds are different, I choose two different styles for them:

Reason for that, is that heavy industry feels more manmade, and is therefore arranged in a more blocky order.

Timber and agricultural industries are more settled where the ressources are, and so, the roads go towards the ressource and not vice-versa.

In either case, just filling the space with some 10×10 grids, will not result in eye candy (with a few exceptions). Mixing up your layout always catches the interests. It also makes up for a bit more challenge to get your traffic flow right.

In a general way, I use the dirt roads to fill my agricultural and timber prime industries, while using the other 2-lane roads to pave the specialized processing districts, since those are a bit of a mix between rural and heavy industry.


Tourism-centered districts

Tourism goes both ways. Either you integrate it in your residential areas, or you build up an entire block dedicated to hotels and whatnot. I try to do both most of the time. When I build dedicated districts however, I do so in a standalone way. Most of the time, a bit isolated from the city heart to evade huge traffic jams.

Here’s an example from my most recent city, Verdantis:


Symmetric and beautiful! Walkways all over the place, a harbour at the bottom, train at the top and a few metro stations.


For offices, there is not that much to say. You can plop them everywhere. Most of the time, I use office spaces to buffer my residential spaces from noise coming from motorways or leisure commercial.

Anyways, that’s it for the moment. In the next part of the guide, I’ll go over some district layouts in a more detailed way. keep your eye out for it!



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