So the new SimCity is out and has a good focus on interdependent cities. My question is can I work on a single city or do I have to manage multiple cities (which also covers just getting other people to manage the other cities) in order for them to grow?

I have read a lot on exchanging goods and services between the towns, especially in the topic of water generation/consumption. This makes me wonder if I can focus on one city at a time and get it to a reasonable state before having to start on another one to support it.


3 Answers 3


Most areas are "good enough" to make a self-sufficient city. I have yet to rely on another city for stability.

That being said, cooperation is important for a specialized city to reach maximum efficiency. Once you've established the basics, the limited city area leaves you with little room to expand buildings important to your specialization.

For example, let's say you want to manufacture electronics. To do this in a single city you need:

  • Educated sims, meaning universities, colleges, high schools, elementary schools, and libraries.
  • High-class residential for workers, meaning lots of parks and services.
  • Consumer electronics factory.
  • Trade buildings for trading globally, shipping freight, and improving your trade.
  • Boats and trains to help ship freight.
  • And finally, TONS of high-tech industrial.

By the time you cram in everything up to the high-tech industrial ("everything" takes lots of space, trust me), you're left with little space for expanding your factories. But your factories are your primary source of income in a manufacturing city! This will heavily impact your freight and electronics output so you won't see the godly profit you should be making.

If you can get your basics like power, water, police, fire, healthcare, and even your educated/high-class sims from somewhere else (this is possible with another university city or the group project Arcology), then you save all the space dedicated to those basics, meaning you can make more manufacturing and make a larger profit.

Something to realize is that this is not only good for the manufacturing city. The manufacturing city greatly benefits from recycling, so you can save every other city in your region the trouble of dealing with recycling and help them reduce their garbage. The manufacturing city also specializes in high-tech industry, so you can provide freight to other cities so they don't pollute with their own inferior industry. Combined this makes other cities very clean, which lets them focus on strengths like tourism and education - you get the idea :)

You might be wondering, "how can a city providing the basics make godly profits?" On top of the money that cities have to provide you for your basics, you can pair the basics with what they support well. A city with a strong police force can handle the horrendous amount of crime from casinos. Casinos spill crime to other cities, meaning other cities will want more of your police, meaning you expand your police force and can support even more casinos. Circular profit enabling - yes please! ... just be careful the crime doesn't get out of control. Learning which basics and specializations pair well together is what will make your regions successful. Some pairs I've thought of:

  • Industrial cities need strong fire-fighting to handle hazmat fires.
  • Education cities have low power and water requirements and can research and provide clean power and water.
  • Cities with lots of garbage and low-tech industry need strong medicare for sickness.
  • Trading cities need recycling to create plastics, metals, and alloys.
  • Commercial, tourist, and casino cities need strong police forces to handle crime (as I've already said).


  1. Get basics from neighbours.
  2. Build tons of specialized stuff.
  3. ????
  4. PROFIT!!!

Cooperation sometimes makes things easier.

If we're in the same region and you plop the Dept of Utilities while I plop the Dept of Safety, that's 15000 simoleans immediately and 500 simoleans each hour that we each just saved.

Cooperation sometimes solves problems that would be impossible for a lone city.

If we're in the same region and your water table has no water, you can buy my water.

These impossible problems are very long term issues and well beyond a "reasonable state".

  • Is that all there is to it? Makes it easier but not required?
    – James
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 18:51
  • 1
    Yes, you do not need to understand multiple city interactions "from the get go".
    – Amy B
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 18:59
  • I found out some more about water table issues - if you build a sewage processing center it converts sewage to water and dumps the water into the ground. You can then put water towers beside this to pick that new water up. You should never have water table problems after that.
    – Sadly Not
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 23:07

They are not required, but they can certainly make your life easier. Providing all your own utilities and services makes large profits somewhat hard to achieve. You'll find yourself walking on the razor's edge quite often, needing to use bonds and waiting on natural time passage to be able to afford basic structures.

Alternatively, you can exploit your natural resources for profit, but those resources are often finite and once the well dries up (quite literally), you'll have a major income gap to address. This will be fine when getting a city up and going, but eventually you'll need to cooperate with your neighbors.

The developers have made it no secret that one of the primary focuses of this game is intercity relations and teamwork. The original trailer went out of its way to highlights the effects one city could have on another. This is especially highlighted by the regional power outage when the dirty polluted city caused a malfunction in the clean tech city's power plant. The trailer goes further to show the two cities working together on a great work, building a Nuclear plant to power both cities.

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