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SimCity Strategy Guides


Zoning: Industrial


Industry provides jobs for your Sims and generates freight which is distributed to other business. Industry can be difficult to manage if it requires more workers than you have in your city, especially when higher tech industries require educated and skilled workers. Industry also generates pollution which is bad for your Sim's environment and health. Developing somewhat cleaner high tech industries is possible, but brings with it it's own challenges.

The following sections can be found in this article:

  • Not Enough Workers!
  • Industrial Pollution
  • Freight Shipping
  • Education vs Tech Levels - What is the Difference?
  • Developing High Tech Industry
  • Not enough workers!

    Lack of workers typically means insufficient residential zoning nearby to fill all the jobs a factory has available. Factories that don't have enough workers may remain closed, or will work at reduced efficiency which means poor profits. Poor profits sooner or later leads to factory closure.

    If you have many industrial buildings with this problem then try de-zoning some of your industrial areas and re-zoning them as residential a bit at a time until the problem resolves itself. You can check the general proportion of unfilled jobs or unemployment in your population data panel.

    For more information:

  • Government: Understanding Data Maps
  • Not enough educated workers

    I've seen a lot of people asking this question and typically the answer they get is ignore the 'educated' part and just treat it like a lack of workers (i.e. zone more residential), however that is not really a complete answer, because education does matter.

    To provide an industrial building with educated workers means that the Sims who go to that factory must come from a residential building that has the educated status on the education data map. Partially educated buildings will provide a reduced number of educated workers, uneducated buildings provide no educated workers.

    Example: there are 5000 jobs for educated workers; my population has 2500 Sims from educated residences and 2500 from uneducated residences. I will have 2500 unemployed Sims and factories which are only at 50% supplied with workers.

    There are a number of possible factors which may lead to the lack of educated workers problem:

    Do you have enough schools?

    If your schools are providing less desks than the total number of students then areas of your city will be uneducated. If your schools are not at full capacity then your students are not making it to a school during the school day. This is likely to be a transport or road network problem, so try examining the number of school bus stops and make sure your residential zones are not too far away from a school (any school).

    Is there enough residential zoning near to your factory?

    If your school enrollment is at 100% then are there residential areas near to your factory? If the factory is a significant distance away from the nearest residential area you may need to zone more residential nearby, or perhaps there are too many other factories in the area who are soaking up the workforce before they can reach this particular factory? Sims will go into the first building that meets their current need, so if they need a job they'll go into the first factory they encounter that has a job available.

    Do you have enough Sims?

    If all other aspects seem fine then it could simply be that you have more jobs than Sims. Check your data panels for details and if necessary re-zoning some industry to residential.

    Not enough skilled workers

    Skilled workers are required by high tech industrial buildings. People tend to assume a skilled worker is one that is college or university educated, but this is not the case. A Skilled worker is spawned from either a medium or high wealth residential building which has a full education level. The level of education in your city is largely unimportant to this specific aspect in so far as your city needs to have a high percentage of educated Sims, regardless of which types of schools you actually use.

    It is worth noting that high tech factories are much more sensitive to worker shortages than low tech, especially shortages of medium and high wealth workers. The nearby residential areas will need to supply a mixture of wealth levels AND those Sims will all need to be educated (no pale green or white buildings on your education data map, or purple blocks of unenrolled students). To generate areas of different wealth levels you will need to use small parks carefully and pay attention to the number of workers needed. There's no point in generating enough housing for 500 high wealth Sims if you only need 50.

    For more information:

  • Education & Tech Levels
  • Parks: Happiness, Wealth & Land Value
  • Industrial Pollution

    A significant problem of industrial zoning is pollution. Factories of all types will increase air and ground pollution which can create dirty ground water. Pollution causes germs and creates sickness. The more pollution there is, the more germs and sickness there will be.

    Air pollution from these mines is affecting residential areas down-wind

    Air Pollution

    You can mitigate against the effect of air pollution a little by paying attention to the wind direction (which is displayed whenever you place industrial zones). By favouring the edges and corners of the city where the wind carries the smog out into the region, you will reduce the amount that falls on the city. BUT air pollution - no matter which way the wind blows WILL increase air pollution in the region, especially for any cities which are down-wind of yours! You may not care about your neighbors, but regional air pollution will increase levels of germs and sickness generally regardless of where your polluting industry is in your city.

    Putting industry all one one side of your city can also create worker shortages and unemployment problems and will contribute to traffic problems. It can often be a tricky balancing act choosing where best to zone industry so that it can function, but so that air pollution output doesn't cause more problems than absolutely necessary. Parks next to industrial buildings will reduce local levels of air pollution a bit but it is by no means a good fix.

    For more information:

  • Parks: Pollution
  • Ground Pollution

    Ground pollution reduces land value and causes widespread sickness amongst Sims who live and work in affected areas. It also looks pretty horrible. Ground pollution gets into the ground water which requires the advanced filtration water pump to treat before it goes into the water supply.

    My opinion is that spreading out your industry by creating very small industrial zones all over your city, works better for reducing ground pollution damage, rather than putting it all in a block. It does seem to clear somewhat quicker as the smaller patches tend to receed more quickly than huge contiguous areas, however the worst affected areas will take many, many years.

    Sick workers means low productivity

    Sick workers will not only slow down the production rate of mines, oil wells, trade depots and other city buildings, but it will also affect industrial productivity which means fewer goods for shops and reduced tax income for you.

    Shops are also affected by sick workers leading to unsatisfied shoppers and unsold goods, but the problem tends to be more pronounced in industrial areas due to the higher pollution levels. You can expand your healthcare system to try and cope with the problem, and the diagnostic lab upgrade for the hospital will help treatment turnover significantly.

    Pollution Output of Industrial Buildings by Tech Level

    As noted above all industrial buildings put out pollution, however higher tech industry does pollute less than low tech industry. The following represents the ranges of pollution outputs for different tech levels and densities, note the PPM values represent the output when a factory is operating normally, during the day with full staffing levels. PPM values may fall during night hours or if a factory has worker shortages.

    Pollution output for zoned industrial buildings
    Density Tech level Ground Pollution Air Pollution
    Low Low Tech 9,984 PPM 79,872 PPM
    Medium Low Tech 13,312 PPM 159,744 PPM
    High Low Tech 16,640 PPM 935,424 PPM
    Low Medium Tech 6,656 PPM 53,248 PPM
    Medium Medium Tech 9,984 PPM 133,120 PPM
    High Medium Tech 13,312 PPM 831,488 PPM
    Low High Tech 1,728 PPM 26,624 PPM
    Medium High Tech 6,656 PPM 106,496 PPM
    High High Tech 4,992 PPM 363,776 PPM

    For more information:

  • Healthcare: Pollution & Germs
  • Water
  • Parks: Pollution
  • Freight Shipping

    This is the industrial data map, showing freight waiting to ship and profit returned

    What is Freight?

    Industrial buildings produce freight which needs to either be sold directly to commercial businesses, sent to the global market via a Trade Depot, or one of a handful of alternative buildings that provide freight handling (the Trade, Metal, Electronics & Petroleum HQ's along with Dr Vue's tower if you have the Heroes & Villians DLC).

    Selling freight creates profit for industries, if they can't sell their freight, they will have no profits and will go out of business.

    Helping Industry Sell Freight

    You can't directly control freight, but you can control the placement of city buildings and zones. If industrial buildings complain about freight problems it is most likely because they are either too far from commercial buildings, or there are not enough commercial buildings nearby to accept all the freight they produce (freight will be bought and sold on a 'first come, first served basis).

    As noted above, trade depots and HQ buildings can be used to help localized freight shipping problems BUT these buildings cost money to place, to run and do not pay any taxes. The better solution, rather than putting in an otherwise useless trade depot, or an HQ you don't necessarily need, is to change the zoning layout within the local area. How you change affected zones will depend on other factors; if factories have both freight problems and worker shortages, then you simply have too much industrial zoning or potential workers aren't getting to the factories in time. If nearby residents want more shopping and factories need to ship more freight then that requires more commercial zoning etc.

    For more information:

  • Zoning: Tips & Tricks
  • Mining
  • Oil
  • Trading
  • Electronics
  • What are tech levels?

    Tech level is a property of industrial buildings which like wealth levels for residential, is either low, medium or high.

    Medium and high tech industries require educated and skilled workers (see above), however they pollute less than low tech industries. They are also less prone to bursting into flames, are less germ-ridden and do not have such a bad impact on local land values.

    You cannot get an increase in the tech levels of industrial buildings without a university or a community college (although the university can be in a neighbouring city in the region rather than in your city specifically).

    Developing High Tech Industry

    Triggering the development of higher tech industries is pretty easy. Simply placing a Community College or university will result in an almost immediate increase of tech level amongst affected industries. It is worth noting that the Community College will take longer to trigger technological upgrade, additionally it does not provide an educated workforce as quickly as the university; the university will affect the technological level of all within the city very rapidly.

    It IS possible to develop some medium and high tech industry if there is a university in the region, but not in your city, however such industries are likely to have trouble finding workers if your city's education level and residential areas are poor

    The problem with newly created higher tech industries is that they will immediately require particular workers in sufficient numbers and this can create problems when not enough workers are available. It can also quickly lead to unemployment amongst low wealth workers.

    Example: 1620 low wealth Sims are employed in a high density, low tech industry. It is replaced with a high tech, high density industry, but this only provides 200 low wealth jobs, leaving 1420 low wealth Sims looking for jobs elsewhere. The factory also needs 600 medium and 140 high wealth workers.

    How do you fix this type of issue? In general living conditions amongst workers are more likely to be the source of problems than their education level. Unless your education enrollment level city-wide is poor, or there are very few residential areas of any sort near to your high tech factories, then parks will be a more useful addition to your city than schools. All industries will want a mixture of wealth levels amongst their workforce, but medium and high tech industries will be more likely to complain if these workers are not available, so check the tech level of factories that don't have enough workers and increase land value in nearby residential neighborhoods accordingly.

    For more information:

  • Education & Tech Levels
  • Parks: Happiness, Wealth & Land Value
  • Zoning: Wealth Levels
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