SimCity Super NES Guide: Section 5

Section 5: Battling Common SimCity Problems

Note: Actual hair color of SimCity creator Will Wright may differ from this depiction.Anytime you go to the opinion screen, the game will list your city’s biggest problems.  In order to keep your SimCitizens happy (and keep that population number growing) it’s your job as mayor to check this list often, and do your best to reduce those complaints.

Here are the solutions to these problems — but keep in mind, not every problem is totally fixable.  There are some cases where solving one problem creates another… so you have to find a good balance between the two.


You can never completely get rid of pollution, so do your best to minimize it with these strategies.

  • ALWAYS use nuclear power plants. They cost more than coal, but they don’t pollute.
  • ALWAYS use rails instead of roads.  Again, they cost more, but they don’t pollute.  Using rails will also eliminate another problem: traffic.  Best of all, SimCity does not require train depots (like the sequels do) so you literally can run train tracks anywhere you’d normally build roads.
  • You can’t get rid of Industrial Zones (since they bring jobs to your city) but you can try to spread them out.  Leave a few tiles of breathing room between them, and fill those empty spaces with parks.  Also try to provide a buffer zone (at least 3-4 tiles wide) between your I zones and your R and C zones.  Keep that pollution away from areas where people live.
  • Airports and seaports also cause pollution. Again, avoid placing them right next to each other or next to I zones.
  • Whenever possible, place I zones, airports and seaports along the edges of your city. That way, half of the pollution goes off the map — and it won’t count. (You could maximize this by putting your airport and seaport in different corners of the map.)  I usually build a ring of I-zones around the edge of the map, then fill the “inside” of the landform with R & C zones.

Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about trash collection (or building dumps) like you do in SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4!


To combat unemployment, you must always have zones that provide jobs.  Generally, you’ll have to rely heavily on Industrial Zones when you first begin.  Watch the “RCI Meter” at the top of the screen, and keep an eye on which kinds of zones are in demand.

As you approach 100,000 population, you’ll probably start to see demand for Commercial Zones catching up with Industrial Zones, and eventually surpassing them.  Again, keeping an eye on the RCI Meter will let you know what kinds of zones are in demand.  As long as you can keep up with it, you should have enough places for your SimCitizens to find jobs.


This one’s pretty straightforward. Remember to check the “crime map” often and compare it to the “Police Radius” coverage map.  The Crime Map will help you find trouble spots, and the coverage radius map will help you determine exactly where to build new Police Stations so they have the greatest impact.  It’s OK for station coverage to overlap somewhat (in fact, you need some overlapping to adequately cover the city).  But remember, each time you add another Police Station, you’re also adding more expenses to your annual budget.


This one is a no-brainer (and if you were paying attention to my remedies for “Pollution” you already know this answer).  You can’t have traffic if you don’t have roads.  So don’t build any roads!  Instead, build railroad tracks.  Yes, it’ll cost more, but if you’re using the Million Dollar Code, that shouldn’t be a problem.  And remember, unlike the sequels, you do NOT need train stations in SimCity.  (In fact, you can’t even build any until you earn them as gifts.  They are completely optional.)

Second Best Solution: If you’re playing without cheats and money is an issue, OK, you can build roads.  But keep them as simple and straight as possible.  Roads that zig-zag, twist and turn will only add to your problems — both traffic and pollution.  Building roads that meander everywhere (like in the Berlin scenario) is the worst thing you can do.  (On that note, you can wipe out traffic problems in every single scenario city by bulldozing the roads and replacing them with rail.)


If you’re using the Million Dollar Code, this one’s easy. Just reduce all the tax levels to zero. But if you’re playing fair, stay around 7%.  People will still complain… but hey, nothing’s free!

Housing Costs

This is one problem I could NEVER eliminate. I almost wonder if it’s just the “default” complaint so the list is never empty. The best you can do is keep your eye on the “RCI” meter to make sure you’re meeting demand. If the people need more R zones, build more.

Pollution vs. Unemployment

As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, some problems can never be totally eliminated. If you want to get rid of unemployment, you need to build more industrial zones… which cause pollution. If you want to clean up the city, you need to eliminate industrial zones, and thus, jobs. It’s especially tough when your population is under that 100,000 mark where commercial zones begin to take over. This is where you truly get to be a mayor and decide which problem you’re more willing to live with. You’ll never get rid of both.

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