SimCity 5 has players take on the role of mayor and urban planner to grow a city facing many challenges, particularly environmental sustainability.
Players have the challenge of being mayor whose main responsibility as urban planner is to create a city which will either become environmentally friendly, with emphasis on improving quality-of-life (QOL) and environmental sustainability, or end up becoming an industrial wasteland city with air and ground pollution, ecosystem environmental degradation and a sick or dying population of Sims. The mayor has the ultimate decision to decide the fate of the city and experience the cause and effect relationship of the interface between the infrastructure systems as the city develops. The nature of SimCity 5 will steer players towards a sustainable city design, since cities built on non-renewable resources will face deep recessions, fuel shortages and environmental disasters.
As mayor, you will decide the shape of the city. Every choice will have a chain of cause and effect consequences. Infrastructure systems will interact with each other as your city grows. You will see the connectivity of many factors: pollution of groundwater and downwind air pollution, unemployment, economy, population growth, waste management, parks and recreation, crime, homelessness, health, resource depletion, public transportation, bike-only streets, lane-sharing street cars, light rail, commuter rail/heavy cargo lines, traffic congestion, energy-efficient building codes, education, renewable solar and wind energy, non-renewable coal, oil and nuclear energy, the general public, including police officers, doctors and teachers. Players have the ability to add fully curved streets and zones that fit the curved street grid. You will have a greatly diversified tool kit reflecting that of modern urban planners.
Social Flow – Cities are also interconnected with other nearby cities. There is an interchange of commerce and culture between them. What happens in your city will affect your neighbouring city and vice-versa. You cannot live in isolation from one another, since the choices and advancements you make in your city will affect neighbouring cities. Every environmental decision you make, the patterns of development, culture and commerce will impact the other. Cities can trade resources or share public services like garbage collection or health care. They can also pool their wealth and resources to create infrastructure to benefit the entire region, such as a huge solar power plant or international airport.
Zoning – Can be residential, commercial or industrial with 5 different types of road choices each accommodating a different level of density. Rigid grid-based zoning is now a thing of the past.
Mass Transit – You can implement buses, lane-sharing street cars, light rail, commuter rail/heavy cargo lines.
Sims – Individual citizens are called Sims. Health, education, sanitation, employment, housing and crime are some factors affecting their well-being or QOL. Some are healthier than others which is a reflection of lifestyle choices. Police officers, doctors and teachers are also among their component. Sims will show their approval support or their protest disapproval of you as a reflection of your decisions which affect them. For example, placing a high-density residential neighbourhood downwind from a polluting coal power plant will increase Sims’ mortality rate.
You will have a lot to think about which will sharpen your problem-solving skills as an urban planner facing the pressure of your city to expand with social, economic, health and environmental challenges to face.