How to Make a Huge Skyscraper City in "SimCity 4"

Written by c.a. rubino
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"Sim City 4" is a game where you use careful planning, logistics and business acumen to build and maintain a successful city. One of the crowning achievements for a city is the construction of a booming business district, complete with skyscrapers. These symbols of prosperity and commerce don't grow overnight. The city must be a desirable place for businesses to build their towers, meaning they have a large population to draw from. If developing a true New York City style skyline is your goal, you should start from your first day as mayor.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Build up a large city population. Commercial districts thrive on large populations. Not only do businesses need people in order to fill jobs, but they must also have customers. Keep residential desirability up by providing water, schools, police, health care and fire protection. You should also keep pollution low. Build residential areas away from dirty industrial areas. Develop parks and plant trees to build high residential desirability with low pollution. As the population grows, build higher density zones to increase available housing.

  2. 2

    Create commercial demand. As the city grows, the population will begin to demand commercial services. Start by building low-density commercial zones. Make sure your commercial districts have low traffic by providing effective street layouts. Make public transportation available. The commercial districts also need to be kept clean. Plazas and planted trees will help reduce pollution. Lower the tax rates for commercial properties and approve city ordinances that will reduce traffic and increase tourism. As demand and population increases, replace the low-density zoning with higher density. Skyscrapers can only be built in high-density zones.

  3. 3

    Place landmarks and special buildings near the commercial district to increase demand. Many landmarks give a bonus to commercial demand because of their tourist appeal. Having one or more near a commercial district will bring more customers to the area.

  4. 4

    Develop and connect neighbouring cities. "Sim City 4" gives you an entire region to build cities in. While the cities each exist on their own, they are all connected on a regional level. Once a city has a fairly good population base started, move to a neighbouring region and begin a city there. Connect the two cities by building roads and utilities to the border that separates them, and select the option to allow the connection. This will allow population to move between the two cities. One city can be focused on building a high residential population while all the commercial jobs can be located in the second.

Tips and warnings

  • In order for tall buildings to begin appearing, you must have more than 30,000 residents for high rise apartments and 45,0000 commercial jobs for skyscrapers. Both will only be built on high-density zones that have very high desirability.

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