Criticism about Patriot City - Don't Hold Back!

Posted by Thunderbird on 15 May 2017 in English (English)

Hello all,

I finally finished another long semester of school and I haven't had much free time to work on Jefferson. Although I'll be taking summer classes, I will be back now!

As I move forward, I want to take a look at Patriot City and get feedback. Specifically, what needs to be changed to improve the city?

I'm aware that Patriot City fits all the criteria on the laundry list of frequent complaints: -Grid city -USA style -Lots of motorways -etc. . .

I prefer to work on small areas of detail at a time and you can see that from the way the city is half finished. Since I began my OGF career at the city center and then mapped out, I expect that you guys will have many suggestions for that area.

I eventually intend for the city to have a population of between 900,000 and 1 million within city limits, and 3-4 million in the metro area (which I haven't even begun).

And yes, an airport has been planned for the longest time, here, it just hasn't been mapped yet.

So please, give me your harshest, most honest critiques!

Comment from MrOobling on 15 May 2017 at 15:49

Patriot city is a lovely grid city which I've been paying attention to since your 1 year anniversary diary entry. The central grid section is great- just a bit more detail, like administrative regions, and it will be perfect. The outer section is a bit weaker. Usually in Grid cities, by the point where roads aren't just grids there are clearly defined separate neighbourhoods, each with their own nucleus where roads radiate out from. Yours sort of looks like you got bored of drawing a grid and just wanted to add some random angles. If there's no specific place people want to travel towards, why break the grid pattern?

I think a large reason why your more suburban areas don't have separate neighbourhoods is the lack of rivers and the lack of railway lines. These are crucial in determining the center of and boundaries of neighbourhoods. With them, cities look much more natural and realistic.

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Comment from martinum4 on 15 May 2017 at 15:55

I would expect some lager port, also some damns maybe? Imagine a high tide and your city is flooded, look at the deltawerken in the Netherlands and stuff. speaking of dutch things, i expect the city to be more amsterdamish due to the large areas of wetlands in the northwest, i wouldn't build anything there and declare it a nature protection zone.

Kind regards


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Comment from Portopolis on 15 May 2017 at 16:00

IF you want a 3-4 million metropolitan area, I would first map the region and determine if there were any ancient cities, that were previously important. These cities could dictate the grid pattern throughout your metropolitan area, Similar to what Wilmington or Gary might do in Delaware and Indiana respectively as part of the Chicago and Philadelphia metropolitan area. I would also map out the region before completely mapping Patriot City.

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Comment from kingfries on 15 May 2017 at 19:33

Takes breath Ah yes, the wasteful beauty of american cities, fantastic. What to say about Patriot City? Obviously more detailing is always a yes, e.g. naming more stuff. Or go through a check list of what every city needs, Like fire and police stations, fire and police training grounds, Bus depots, train yards, garbage dumps, power plants (maybe an abandoned one), stuff that you don't usually think about like slaughterhouses, waste water filter plants? But if Patriot City were real I'd live there.

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Comment from iBallasticwolf2 on 15 May 2017 at 20:17

So far your city is looking good, but one small thing that I would like to touch on. In many American style cities urban freeways have convoluted and poor interchange design due to their age. One thing to improve your city is more complex interchange designs on your motorways, but otherwise, you are doing good.

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Comment from refried sushi on 15 May 2017 at 21:18

I have had my eye on Patriot City for a while. Taking you at your word that you want honest critique (and I applaud you for that):

Patriot City is simple. Don't read more into that statement than there is: simple does not mean bad or unsophisticated. Patriot City is neat and tidy, in some ways idealized. You have employed a square block in a repetitive arrangement that yields almost not at all for terrain or varying development patterns. (A notable exception here would be the Wharton Ave corridor where the grid is shifted to respond to the river, and to my eye it looks like the most realistic area of the city because of that difference.) Cities in reality are usually messier, even planned ones like this.

I would suggest 2 things:

  1. Look at comparable cities IRL. I immediately thought of Portland, Oregon because of the vast use of the square block and the fact that your city center appears to be on the opposite river bank of most of the urban development which is a bit unusual for this development pattern. Portland also clearly contrasts your lack of topography (except for marsh area per martinum4's comment.) Don't throw a mountain range around your city for variety, but realize that even a hill or two in your landmass would inform and distort your grid in sophisticated ways. Use the wetlands to inform development more, as you started with the racetrack.

  2. Molon Labe Ave appears to be a rare artifact from before the master grid for the city was overlaid and developed. I think a few more roads like this, built before the grid when the city was just starting out, would enhance believability and detract from the "ideal-ness" of some of the grid for you. I would venture that some early gridding grew perpendicular to these roads too...

Overall good work, thanks for sharing!

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Comment from No Way on 15 May 2017 at 21:38

The neighborhood around the Fork train station looks like a nice neighborhood.

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Comment from Thunderbird on 15 May 2017 at 22:16

@MrOobling: Thank you for pointing this out, I normally think about the city in the opposite way, thinking the outer sections are better. I think you're referring to the North Side mostly, and you are correct that the neighborhoods should be a bit more defined. At the very edge of the city I will start to focus on this more. You're also correct about the lack of small creeks, which was another aspect I overlooked when I first began mapping.

@martinum4: I have been planning large, sprawling port complexes north, on both sides of the river between Emerick and the Airport site. But I don't know a lot about "deltawerken" and should probably read up about Amsterdam. I would like to perfect the marshes, which are originally based off South Jersey marshland.

Where would you recommend a good spot for a dam? The river and the surrounding area has almost completely flat geography.

@Portopolis: I have one small, nearby older city planned. Good examples.

@kingfries: Thank you!

@iBallisticWolf2: I know what you mean, maybe I should consider downgrading some of the cloverleafs.

@refried sushi: Thank you for the thoughtful comments. The city is very flat. I understand what you have said about having an unbroken street grid, I think its biggest flaw is the fact that the streets line up perfectly even though they are on either side of the river. (The Wharton Avenue corridor is built up with bars and restaurants, lots of nightlife!)

I will try to add some elevation. One or two small hills would look nice and varied. I'll see how to make this look the most realistic. Since the government is limited and has fewer zoning restrictions (especially in the past two decades), the wetland areas were filled in (in some areas) and either roads were built or private land was sold off. There could be some interesting environmental consequences of doing this all along the coastline.

I probably could add one or two more original roads. And great idea, around Ironmaster Plaza I should change the street grid to reflect a bit of early gridding.

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Comment from zhenkang on 15 May 2017 at 22:47

The airport location you planned looks a bit too far from the city itself. I will not toatally recommend it, unless you want to. Anyway, it is normal but i still prefer it nearer to thecity.

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Comment from zhenkang on 15 May 2017 at 22:50

By the way it looks slightly weird that there is only one detailed city without natural features around it. Just a plain piece of land...

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Comment from Thunderbird on 16 May 2017 at 00:09

@No Way: It's at the edge of a very wealthy section of the city, south and east of the station,

@zhenkang: I don't think between 9 and 10 miles from the city center is too far, especially considering I will be mapping sprawling suburbs to bring the metro area's population to 3-4 million.

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Comment from BMSOUZA on 17 May 2017 at 00:15

Hey, what a beatiful map!!!

I have not so much to say, because I am not a specialist in american style cities, hehehe, but it looks like a real city, and it is very good!

I cant wait to see when it is complete with all its metropolitan area!!!


Bruno Moreira

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Comment from ParAvion on 17 May 2017 at 02:22

I'm going to level with you - I went into this expecting to find another generic, bland US grid city with very little of note and to leave feeling like I achieved nothing by looking; but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. You have obviously put a lot of work into this, and it shows.

While you do have that stock-standard US grid going on, it's nice to see it being bordered by more interesting suburbs with nice curves and shapes. It breaks the monotony and defines different eras in your city's history - grid layouts from 100+ years ago, and nicer suburbs from about 60 years ago or so. Indeed, many of these outer suburbs remind me of Levittown and other places like it, and I've been trying to emulate this style for a while in some of my cities, so I'm going to shamelessly rip off... that is, use your work as a guide for my own suburbs.

My suggestion for what to do next would be to look outside Patriot City and start building towns and roads out of the city. I don't mean starting construction on the other side of the country, but perhaps coastal towns and whatnot that you can start off small and over time join them into the city, as is the case in real life as cities sprawl. You already have Whippoorwill, Emerick, and Maynord - what do they look like? What is their character? Did they start off as small farming towns and eventually became part of the Patriot City metropolis? How about roads that were built 200 years ago, and as the population grew, so did they, to the point where new freeways had to be built around them?

Perhaps even think about what's not there yet - not what you plan to build, but what the city itself plans to build. Maybe there's a new road being constructed, or perhaps there's a plan to extend IC21 north along the riverfront. The construction tag is your friend, don't be afraid to use it - it's a neat addition to your maps that makes the city feel more like a living entity rather than the product of your imagination.

But if you want to keep your attention within the boundaries of Patriot City, that's fine too. As has been mentioned above, adding detail to what you already have is a great idea. Think about commercial districts - where are the main streets where people shop? If you're not sure where they should go, think about your public transport from 100 years ago. As tram lines extended out from the city 100 years ago, where a line ended is usually where a small shopping district would pop up. When the line extends a little further, a new shopping district is built at the new terminus, and so on. Don't be afraid to add more green space either, a city can't function without it.

On airports - where you have proposed to build it is fine. With proper transport links (motorways, trains, rickshaws etc.), it's not a problem if it's a bit further out from the city centre. But here's a thought - what about older airports from, say, the '30s? Perhaps 80 years ago an aerodrome was built on what was then the outskirts of the city, but these days it's surrounded by development? Because of this the airport couldn't grow, and a new one had to be built further out, and these days the old airport is used for recreational flying or as a domestic airport.

One final thought, I see that you're naming your residential land use areas. That's fine, but they blend in with the land colour and as a result, they don't stand out. It looks like there are no suburbs in the city, so try this: use the Borough node for your suburbs, but for major suburbs, use the Town one instead. It gives you a nice mixture and is a much better way of marking out suburbs. Also think about where the boundaries of your suburbs are - your grid areas will likely blend into each other, but your newer suburbs might take their names from when they were subdivided - in 1950 a new subdivision by the name of Fish and Chips Glen might have been opened up, and these days the suburb takes its name from it; the neighbouring suburb of Custard Park, while little more than just a few streets and culs-de-sac, is derived from when the Custard Park subdivision opened up. You see where I'm going with this.

All in all though, you've done an impressive job so far. Keep up the good work!

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Comment from Thunderbird on 18 May 2017 at 16:46

@BMSOUZA: Thank you!

@ParAvion: Feel free to use my work as an example! That's very nice of you to say. I have considered building an older airport within the city limits, or perhaps a former airport that has been converted into some other use (a mall or office building perhaps).

I have also given thought to using the Borough node for suburbs, and have had mixed feelings about whether to stick with residential areas that don't stand out or boroughs. But I think you may be right, the Borough tag is better.

Thanks for the nice comments everyone! I will definitely use the feedback to guide my future mapping!

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Comment from No Way on 18 May 2017 at 20:01

Where is the borough tag?

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Comment from Thunderbird on 20 May 2017 at 02:05

@No Way: place = borough on a node

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Comment from No Way on 23 May 2017 at 17:31

How does the borough node display? I just used the node and I don't see it rendered at all.

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Comment from Thunderbird on 23 May 2017 at 18:32

I think the borough node is broken, it won't render for me either :/ But neighbourhood is too small and suburb is too big.

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