Sims inside the Residential zones will have problems. If they become too unhappy, they will eventually leave the city. Additionally, if residents are not earning enough, they will become bankrupt and will have to leave their homes. It is important that you check regularly for understanding the happiness level of your Sims. You can do so by clicking on the buildings, which will give you a lot of details.
Now that we understand the type of Sims, we can apply it to the Commercial zones. Commercial areas are where your Sims will spend their money. Since there are three types of wealth-based Sims, there will be three types of zones that will be targeted.
Low wealth zones will tend to increase crime rates, so it’s important that you progress your city enough to attract high wealth Sims so that high wealth buildings can automatically replace the low wealth ones.
One of the best methods to do so is to largely invest in tourism. Tourist attractions and landmarks should mainly be built within the Commercial zone. It is also important to ensure that the commercial zone is easily accessible to both the residential zone and transport hubs such as Train Stations and Bus Terminal.
Commercial buildings that aren’t earning enough will be abandoned, hence forcing workers to quit jobs and preventing residents from buying. Thus it is important to regularly check up and solve the problems being faced in the place.
Industrial activity is not influenced by wealth, but by the level of education in your city. If you have a low literacy rate and (hence) uneducated workers, chances are that your industry will be polluted, with rough and dirty buildings and increased crime rate.
As you gradually improve the educational structure of your city, the dirty buildings will automatically be replaced by better buildings, reducing pollution and mishaps, and also increasing the efficiency. This will in turn improve the lifestyle of your citizens, hence improving the residential zone, which will in turn improve the commercial zone.
It is important that you have sufficient job openings so that resident workers go to the factory for work. This will improve the quality of your products, improve the general output, and make your commercial zone much more successful. Lack of products will result in a building being shut down.
The industrial area is easily the most delicate area of the entire game, and its extremely important that you monitor it closely, as the commercial zone’s success and the lifestyle of the residents depends on it.
Zoning the Zones
Now that we know the activities within each zone and also their interdependence, let’s have a look at how you can layout them.
For that, there are a few things you should remember. Firstly, try to build multiple small zones in blocks of four. Each block should contain two residential zones and one commercial and one industrial zone, maintaining a 2:1:1 layout. This is the ideal situation that you should try to attain.
However, sometimes such a layout is not possible, because of pollution and other similar issues. These issues will create unhappy and sick Sims, which will result in skipping jobs and hence the entire infrastructure collapsing. This problem mainly exists in low-wealth and/or uneducated areas, so the best solution is to educate the people.
But creating schools and a University is a long-term process, so it’s generally a good idea to keep the industrial zones a bit far away from the commercial and residential zones. Once your city has good education, consider moving the resident and commercial areas closer to the industries.
The reason why close proximity is preferred is because Sims tend to walk 400 meters before attempting to find other means of transport. If the places are too distant, then Sims will require buses and public transport to travel. This can cause problems such as traffic jams, accidents, and other unwanted mishaps that may lead to delays in production and issues in your mass transit.
Thus, an ideal block is one in which a Sim can walk to his/her workplace, and also walk to the commercial area. Thus, when zoning, one should consider building small modular communities in which Sims can walk back and forth to reach their destinations.
Of course, this ideal case will not always be there for the taking, and so you’ll have to look to create a highly efficient mass transit system as well.
A good way to improve the lifestyle of your Sims and to encourage wealthy Sims to come to live in the residential areas is by creating parks. Urban and Formal parks will increase the value of the land around them, which will encourage wealthy Sims to buy and create high quality houses.
Bear in mind though that this will only happen if you have good job opportunities for the wealthy (which is only available if you have good education). You can see all about the types of Sims and their job offerings in the Populations menu. Use the data there to fine tune your city, and zone accordingly.
Shortening everything up, it’s important to understand the plasticity of your zoning. You should not think that if you’ve created a zone in a specific matter it can’t be changed. In fact, change and constant improvement is extremely important for progressive lifestyle for your Sims. You should attempt to rezone after every small milestone, such as improved education and/or higher class buildings.
Don’t be hesitant in scraping away abandoned buildings and those which are of little use. You could use such places for better purposes. If you leave abandoned buildings, they can become a source of pollution, as criminals and homeless will look to occupy them, polluting the parks and other locations nearby.