Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Oct 2017 13:08 UTC
In the News

Some years ago, already working in 'active transport', and seeking to deepen my understanding around urban design, I took the opportunity to take a family holiday for a week in the Netherlands. Among many many reactions to the experience, one big one I experienced was simply surprise that nobody had told me about most of the amazing things I'd see.

I've been meaning simply to write a list of these amazing things for years now. Unfortunately I'm not all that sure that there is any way to convey the 'amazingness' to those who haven't visited.

The Netherlands is one of the most - if not the most - densely populated western countries, which forced urban planners to get creative. Growing up and living in The Netherlands it's easy to take for granted just how good we are at traffic and urban design. That is, until you take a trip abroad to pretty much any other country - even our beloved neighbours like Germany or Belgium - and realise just how terrible everyone else is at properly segmenting and protecting cyclists and pedestrians, even in densely populated and tightly packed cities.

Urban design is a fascinating subject, and once you start paying attention to it here in The Netherlands, you'll discover an endless array of affordances to protect cyclists, pedestrians, and cars (yes!), while also creating neighbourhoods that usually have only one entry/exit point for cars so they can't be used for through traffic, all designed with the goal of corralling cars away from where people actually live.

I often wonder - will this make The Netherlands a haven for self-driving cars, or a hell?

Permalink for comment 649857
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: So you're saying...
by ssokolow on Sun 15th Oct 2017 05:13 UTC in reply to "So you're saying..."
Member since:

Not quite.

SimCity is more of a game about high-level urban planning and only one of the four types of these simulations I've identified. The other three being:

1. Transporation simulators like Transport Tycoon Deluxe (see OpenTTD or Simutrans for free ones), where you operate as an inter-city business rather than a government. (eg. no modification of cities, inter-city scope, etc.)

2. Public Transit simulators like Cities in Motion and Mini Metro where you're doing things like route-planning within a single city you can't modify.

3. Road Network Planning games. This is a subgenre I've yet to see any proper entries in, and it'd be what this would be an expression of.

...though, judging by the level of customization in how road-laying is handled in early demo videos of an in-development game named Citybound ( ), it seems like the closest thus far.

(The key difference to the last one being that you'd get to choose all the fine details, such as types of interchanges, highway on/off-ramp designs, assignment of special purpose lanes, etc. You'd be surprised how many interesting ideas are implemented in only certain parts of the world that you've never been to.)

Edited 2017-10-15 05:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3