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Shreveport - American City Project - Opinions Needed

Discussion in 'City Photos' started by kipate, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Hey Lads,

    As I recently started to play Cities XXL, I also - for the first time since I had started playing the series back in 2012 - was keen on envisioning a long term, dynamic city project, a project which - over the time - would fundamentally change the city's skyline, its streets, its architecture. (*)

    So I chose to start with building an American town on the edge of collapsing: Shreveport.
    Some first impressions:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The photos are a bit older, the esplanade was overhauled a bit.

    Now you may wonder why I would truly consider to ask other people for their opinions (yeah, it is really me, I was not taken as a hostage :D ). Well, it's pretty simple: the project will go deeper into the materia than anything else I have ever done so far.

    So I would like to get some feedback about my plans for the city (the plans will be shown below), especially by the American members of the site, e.g. @Kurtis Edwards, @IcyHot, @chocolate_city, @marryson123, @OmniBLACK, @ronrn, @veija2; but of course, anyone is encouraged to give feedback ;) (and yeah, I am not on drugs :rolleyes: )

    *****
    The background story (just 3 short paragraphs):
    Shreveport, somewhere in Pennsylvania, founded in 1844 by the Shreve Town Company, which was hired some months before by the Government of Pennsylvania to get rid of a logjam that blocked the river. The surrounding area had become a centre for coal mining, and the government hoped to increase the transportation volume by using ships instead of a railway.

    The logjam was removed, and the city soon developed into a logistic hub. With the increasing mass of coal that was mined, steel companies realized that it may be better to produce closer to the mining sites, and in 1856, the Lackawanna Steel Company built a steel factory about half a mile apart of the initial city blocks on the left side of a larger tributary of the Allegheny River.

    The small river soon became too small for the masses of steel to be transported, and hence some first railway was constructed in the years 1860-61. Nonetheless, some amount of coal and steel still was transported by ships, too. The Civil War happened to be an economical windfall to the city, as the US Navy needed the steel for new boats. A locomotive factory opened up in the town.
    *****

    Okay, so I don't want to spoil you. Until the 1960s, the city could be described as a boomtown. With the decline of the coal industry in the area, and the car usurping the train, the industrial base was lost, and many people left the city and went for the suburbs.

    Since that time, the city (and some parts of the county, too) did not really gain any success, and frustration reached an all-time high, which could also be seen in the fact that the majority of voters favoured Donald J. Trump in the recent presidential election.

    So, and here I need opinions, my reasoning for the fall of the city:
    1) there was no diversification within the industrial sector, which rapidly lead to a loss in tax income once the coal and steel crisis hit the companies in the area.

    2) when some of the stores had to close due to the lack of attendance, the city's core lost its attractivity, and the richer inhabitants started to leave the city for the suburbs, which even increased the loss of tax income.

    3) the city government buildings were mostly made for a bigger city, or a city with a higher tax income, and as the maintainance cost could not be cut off, the cost for the staff had to be reduced, and as this did not help, some positions were not filled. Hence reports and certificates could often not be filed within regular time, public schools needed to cancel some courses, and so on.

    4) Some of the suburbs had not been incorporated in earlier times, and most of them have been home to the richer elites of the area, whose tax money could not then not be used to stuff the holes in the treasury.

    5) some political bad luck: a highway bridge was proposed to connect some highways on each side of the river and to fill the gap between an existing west-east highway and hence to relieve the traffic on an existing west-east interstate which is located some 15 miles south to the city; but instead of building this, the existing interstate was just expanded, and only a small bridge with one lane for each direction was built.

    6) missing long-time visions: instead of trying to make the city's core more attractive to the people (which would of course have needed some monetary support by the state government), precious space was e.g. filled with parking lots.
    You can already see that in he above images; also, there is an old locomotive maintaining facility which does not really have any function anymore, but which still blocks the area. The central railtracks as well are not really needed anymore, the only trains that come to the station are touristic trains. But the whole route has lost its attractivity to the people.

    7) short-sighted conduct of the banks and GSEs during the financial crisis: homeowners, who had tried to refinace their homes and who had lost all their money within the crisis, were evicted and their homes often demolished, as he maintainance cost were too high and there was no sign for close betterment of the market situation. Hence, many properties remained empty, making some of the districts even less attractive to possible new residents.

    If that sounds familair to you, well, most of my inspiration I found in the wikipedia articles about Scranton and Pittsburgh, both in Pennsylvania.

    Now if you find some of these points unreasonable, or if you think there needs to be added something, just say it. I hope to hear something by you, guys :)

    But please, we can talk about ways to include also "encumbered" topics, like racial tension, but stay focused, it is still XXL ;)

    For the city getting back on the route of success, I thought that first of all, the highway bridge could finally be built. Afterwards, some hauling companies could use the town as a regional exchange station. The increased income could be used to fill some educational positions, for example.

    I am again open for your opinions :)

    (*) yeah, I know about Titania, which was considered to undergo a radical change; but this change would not have been as radical as in this current town.
     
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  2. Kurtis Edwards

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    Well, American cities are still decidedly segregated.
    But low and middle-class houses in America are pretty similar other than 'up-keep.' It's not until you get into really high-class homes that you see huge massive houses (other than our houses being bigger on average).
    You will have to utilize my "open-spaces idea" that you do not agree with, especially if you want to show American decay. Industrial and residential neighborhoods that are deteriorating are empty, not just in Detroit, and in ruins (hence cities have a lot of open spaces)


    If you are going for an East Coast city, remember they are grided, but the 'blocks' of grids are often highly variable and not like Manhatten. It's not always 45 or 90-degree angles. I hate to use myself as an example, but my old city with all the terraces is actually a good road layout for an East Coast City.

    Eastern cities mix older generation freeways with new second-gen. So Detroit would be an excellent study for RHM (to an extreme degree). Remember, American cities are more about the central intersection and 'corners' of streets versus Europe love the 'square' or 'plaza' Not saying either place doesn't have the other, but there is a difference.

    America has always been shackled to 1-mile increments. For instance, in American Urban Planning, a mile circumference is about as large of a neighborhood you want to be sustainable, healthy, and easy to move around in; the segregated areas get nothing at all like that, and you have to plan a horrible city for them. : (

    Examples in Segregation: New York w/Harlem & Bronx vs. Staten Island and high-rise Manhatten, Chicago w/South vs. North, Omaha w/North vs. West, Detroit... w/no whites in the city w/all in the suburbs.

    Other city examples: numerous Pen cities, Boston metro, New York suburbs.

    Looking forward to keeping track of your progress!

    p.s. parking, parking, and more parking. Screw elevated, just use the surface of the ground. ; )
     
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  3. Kurtis Edwards

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    You are insane. Are you going to put power lines on every street? I mean, highly realistic and if you do it, I will bow down to your patience. I cannot put that much detail into it, it just drives me bonkers. hahaha.
     
  4. Drazicdesign

    Drazicdesign Governor

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    I am very happy to see you play Cities XXL! :p

    The 1st images are very nice, and the urbanization is coherent.
    I look forward to the sequel,:)
     
  5. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Hey Kurtis, thank you first of all for your detailed feedback. I guess you are right about these open spaces, I looked up some of the outer districts of Pittsburgh and other cities, and yeah, you can find them everywhere.

    I already placed some gaps into the downtown area, and I am willing to do the same within some of the outer districts. Let us see how it turns out.

    I also compared Chicago North vs. South Side, and yeah, one can recognize the difference. Lots of social housing skyscrapers in the southern parts, and social housing everywhere in the south.

    There are already lots of (parking) lots, but there will be even more ;)

    And, regarding your second reply, I may have not expressed myself in a good way: it is not just about the power lines, they are quite easy to place. I even have to plan in before what will be changed and how. Look at the 30m avenue on the left side of the city's core: the actual distance between the houses is 60m, as I plan to demolish the old 30m avenue and place a new one there ;) same for sone other things. As said, the changes will be radical, so I need to plan them in before :)

    Thx again :)
     
  6. Kurtis Edwards

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    [QUOTELook at the 30m avenue on the left side of the city's core: the actual distance between the houses is 60m, as I plan to demolish the old 30m avenue and place a new one there ;) same for sone other things. As said, the changes will be radical, so I need to plan them in before. [/QUOTE]

    I wish we had more 'fluid' 'temporal' abilities with city journals so that they are actually like journals. You know, journal entries for the day or what not. You project is gonna be challenging to showcase all the changes. I am really looking forward to it!.
     
  7. Kurtis Edwards

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    Oh, I am sure you've noticed that American cities have a noticeably smaller 'urban core' than euro cities (w/out using DC, NYC, Chicago, and Philly). We zone out single-home residential property a lot quicker. Judging from the two layout maps you have constructed, it looks like your central area is about the size of an America city in the 50-300k population range? If so, you have to have a 'midtown' and 'downtown' that are sort of separated.

    Examples. Atlanta. Omaha, NE. Kansas City, MO. Pittsburg has a noticeable midtown (the university district). They don't necessarily need interstate access; they are sustainable by downtown traffic in the Am/PM. Most of our urban colleges find homes in midtowns. 'Midtowns' are quintessential for a realistic looking American city.
     
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  8. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Hey, thanks again for your precious advice. Indeed, you are correct with the projected population, I had in mind a population of 120,000 people for the start.

    The midtown area could be located within the district northern to the railtracks, let's see :)
    There will be access to some highways, to grab a more loose terminology. The interstate will be a north-south interstate on the right side of the river, though, and the downtown area will be connected via some feeder expressway at the southern end.
     
  9. Kurtis Edwards

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    Well, I am just really excited. I've never been able to complete a whole American city map. Plus, now I haven't had the time or patience to play w/school and what not. 1 class to go and I'll have my graduate degree! It's awesome to know this is your next project because either way it will come out looking stellar.

    well, No Limits 2 and building roller coasters has kinda taken my free time. NL2 has force vector design... you are a math guy... you have to know math really good to build with forced vector. NL2 has awesome freehand capabilities so I don't have to know the math.
     
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  10. ronrn

    ronrn Governor

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    Don't forget the ever growing demand for the "perimeter" interstates along with their connecting "bypasses" that usually end up splitting many neighborhoods and commercial districts into.
     
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  11. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Hey, thanks for your feedback, @ronrn, @Drazicdesign, @Kurtis Edwards

    I am excited as well. But the courses right now as well as getting things done in the new apartment are really taking an enormous amount of time. I guess I am lucky that I have no girlfriend/partner at the moment, so I can play XXL at least some hours the week :confused:

    Thanks for reminding me on that :) :p There will be a beltway once the city is back on the track. For the start, I plan one interstate on the right side of the river of your great Grand Rapids map. And then some unfinished west-east highway in the northern half with the highway bridge missing (see number 5) in the initial post); and of course, the already mentioned feeder highway connecting downtown with the interstate.

    The city is supposed to be in the 120-150,000 people range for the first time, the map's total population at the start will be at around 180,000 people (as said, lots of suburbs had never been incorporated). Hence I think I won't need that many highways for the start.

    Also, as were are in 2016 already, more and more highways maybe demanded by the people, but it may not be the first solution of urban planners. The railway will later be replaced by some tramway serving for a lightrail line (I am indeed planning "years" ahead :cool: ). Also, I will later tunnel some parts of the subcentral area and place the highways there. But think about it, you need money for this, and Pennsylvania is not the state which has lots resources, see here: Pennsylvania

    May I ask how the financial support works within the US, regarding the municipalities?

    In Germany, you have support by the federal government, by the state, as well as by the districts (Germany is split into 16 states which each are divided into several districts): the district support often supports the bigger touristic spots, not so much the smaller communities, the money is rather taken away from the smaller communities and sent to the bigger ones. This can be reasoned by the fact that most of the bigger centers often face huge maintaining cost for all the religious landmarks; also, the bigger centers are often visited by the inhabitants of the smaller surrounding communities, so the inhabitants do also "receive something".
     
  12. ronrn

    ronrn Governor

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    If I interpret your question correctly, The answer would be:
    Federal - State - County - City
    not to mention all the "special interest organizations" in between.:confused:
     
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  13. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Btw, what I would like to know: is there some kind of movement against soil sealing? I mean, when I look at cities like Scranton and see all these parking lots, and all the sealed but unused spaces, I start wondering about the willingness to address these issues.

    I am not going to say that everything is green in Germany, but here, soil sealing is addressed on a regular base, and when you have e.g. expandion projects for harbours where the new area will seal some existing forest parts or some meadows, then it can be the case that the (public) company has to re-forest the lost area somewhere else.
     
  14. ronrn

    ronrn Governor

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    Maximum building lot coverage (impervious area) is governed by ordinance at county and/or city levels, some more restrictive than others.
    Coverage includes the total of building, driveways, parking and walkway areas.
    Typical:
    50% for residential.
    60% to 70% for commercial.
    Note: Many municipalities allow extended coverage, pending the use of retaining ponds.
     
  15. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Wow, thanks for that, @ronrn (y)
     
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  16. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Some smaller update:
    So I decided to place the University of Shreveport within the area northern to the west-east railway:
    As I am not having that much space left for sports, I need to know what would be better, a large football field, or two small baseball fileds?
    [​IMG]
    Yeah, I know that it would be the second roundabout within the city, and American cities generally tend to have just no roundabout for whatever reason :D

    The university will later play a crucial role within the dynamics of the city.
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. ronrn

    ronrn Governor

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  18. kipate

    kipate Governor

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    Aye, that's an interesting article (after you click away all the upcoming ads^^)! And I will consider the problems mentioned within the article.
    But I should have been more specific, probably:
    I am lacking available space within the university area, so I have space left either for one football field, or two smaller baseball fields.
    Actually, I believe that football is rather common for universities, as baseball is taking way too much time.

    Well, what would the Boss prefer?^^
     

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