Columbia, SC The Virtual City

Posted: April 11, 2013 in Informative Information, Virtual Cities
Tags: , , ,

Ok, so first off, yes, I have been off my blog for a long time. But I’m hoping to get back in the routine of updating this during the summer. Today, I was interested in showing one of the cities that I have built in a video game, Cities XL. Below is the satellite view of Columbia:

Map of Virtual Columbia

Now, not to get confused with the actual city, Columbia SC, but I decided to name this city off the real one.


EDIT: Click on any of the photos to make them bigger!

At this point I could just type lots of paragraphs explaining it, but I have sectioned it below. To some this may be boring, but have a read anyway! You might find some of the small details added in a virtual city very interesting. If nothing else, it will give you something to read on your tablet before you get some sleep. And comment to -> Did you like it, hate it, have ideas for improvement? Let me know! Thanks and enjoy!

Continuing on…

Map of Virtual Columbia

Map Of Columbia

In the above photo, you can see the map of the entire city I have been building in Cities XL. Here’s the details about each section (Refer to the above map for letter locations):

  1. Midtown – See below description
  2. Orgin – This circle of houses and businesses is the orginal part of the city. It is mixed in with part C.
  3. Farming District – See below description
  4. Outer Loop Road – (ORANGE COLOR) – This is the outer road that links the perimeter of the city together.
  5. Uptown District – See below description
  6. RCB Project – See Columbia’s Rapid City Build Project® in the below description.
  7. Downtown District – See below description
  8. Industrial Park – Part of description is in the downtown distric description. This area was the major fluke of design in the entire city. As you can see on the map, there’s road and area zoned for many businesses, but no one is there.

GREEN COLOR – This is Main Street, connecting Columbia with the outside world. 40% is interstate, 30% high-density road, 30% medium-density road. This is also the busiest of the routes. Once the fastest way to get from one end to the other, this fastest route has been replaced with the lower Outer Loop Road

ORANGE COLOR – The Outer Loop Road. Allows for quick access to anywhere in the city. Also offers many scenic views of nature and the city.

BROWN COLOR – These serve as links from Main Street (GREEN) to the Outer Loop Road (ORANGE). From left to right: A Street, B Street, C Street, Greenway Express Road, N Street, Link Avenue, and Z Street

RED LINES – This is areas that will be built up, once everything else in the city has. These are small ‘unifiers’ that will finish linking different sections of the city.

Map of Virtual Columbia

Farming District (Hopkins) (Years 1 to Present)

                The area show in the photo doesn’t do justice to the entire size of Columbia’s food production. This area was designed to serve the city until it reaches a population of 1 million. Over the years as more food has been needed, more crops have been introduced. At this moment, it was though to be a good design, but researchers are currently studying the idea, and are estimating that when the population reaches 300,000, we will run out of self-sustaining ourselves with food and will have to import, instead of the originally planned 1 million limit.

Map of Virtual Columbia

Columbia Downtown District (Years 15 to 35) –

The second big growth project of the city. This increased the population by 70,000 people making the city’s population to a total of around 100,000 people total. There were several special designs done here. The first major one was the testing of ‘linear’ road building. This created a very ‘flowing’ feel, as seen in the above photo. Downtown was a special build, as there are only 5 entrances and exits, allowing for small town feel around the entire downtown.

In the above photo, you can also see at the bottom and middle right are the city’s two oil refinaries. In the top, you can see the entrance to the city, as well as a large sized industrial park. This industrial park was mostly a flop for the city. And one this big was not attempted again.

It is well liked with the citizens, especially with the outer loop road (see map) having a fair mix of business (right) and scenery (left). The big failure was the bad estimate that main street was to be able to handle all the traffic in this region, as well as servicing other areas of the city with the outside word connection (see map)


Flowing Design

Good mix of parks, scenic drives, and businesses.


Poor traffic control on the main route leads to more traffic problems when trying to get in and out downtown

Large Industrial parks cannot work in this region.


Industrial parks in other areas of the city are now spread out, instead of being focused on one area. The main route should be serviced with secondary routes to divert traffic problems.

Map of Virtual Columbia

Columbia’s Uptown District (Cayce and Shandon)(Years 37-50)-

Other than the landfill in the bottom of the photo (hey, it was the only good location for the city to choose), this is mostly the upper class area of town. This also features a small grid city area, but things were changed, in order to prevent the problems that came in the Downtown District. The outer loop road (see map) also comes through here also.


Upper class area

Small town feel


Landfill that is close by


No real major problems were found when this area was finished.

Map of Virtual Columbia

Columbia Midtown District (Years 50 – 60)
Set as a quick addition to the city, this latest completed project was made to join the Uptown district with the original part of the city (see map). There weren’t many problems with this project thankfully. The only major challenge in designing Midtown was the elevation change, which added 5 years on the building project.

Although Midtown is finished for now, zoning to expand this area has been planned in the grassy area to the right of it (see photo).

Map of Virtual Columbia

Columbia’s Rapid City Build Project (Lexington)(Years 70-Present) (Current Project)

In the above photo, you can see the unfinished part of Columbia’s RCB Project. Currently under development for the past 2 years, this is the most ambitious project attempted yet. Slated to be completed in 3 years from now, this is supposed to bring in over 60,000 new residents. Learning from our past with the successful ‘circle’ build (see Uptown District), over several million and a drastic temporary cut in the city’s budget, has some people worried. But with the project ahead of schedule being 60% done, this is looking like a success. No complaints have been made by the new residents. In the coming years, analysis will be done on the design to see if RCB worked, which could lay foundations for other cities around the country.

So far, the only bad part visible was the internal secondary road, which was placed too close to the main road, and doesn’t seem to really help regulate traffic like it was supposed to in this area. In the below photo, you can see main street to the left, and the completed section so far (It was taken on Saturday morning, so no one in the neighborhood was out at the time of taking the photo.

Map of Virtual Columbia

Ok, thanks for reading about the virtual city Columbia, SC! Now, don’t feel like this is done yet. Some day the city will expand more, and you’ll learn more about it. Well, I’ve used up my time for now, time to get back to studying for exams at school. Almost time for my Junior year at college to be done! 😀

Till next time,

– Eastern FireTail


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