A grim society where all the citizens must do exactly what they're told. With surveillance cameras on every street and secret police everywhere, this is the type of city that tyrants run. In game terms, this is a city based on the Authority value, where the sims are brainwashed through the venues, their jobs, and even their housing. Brainwashing the sims' minds neutralizes their happiness, making them happy enough to work, but doesn't make them really happy, but only keeps them in check.
The Authoritarian societies face several initial troubles. First, their value is scarce, because many authority sources are depleted fast by the buildings, and many are less efficient. Meanwhile, you build more, like the Propaganda Ministry or the city Hall, so you will rely in decorations. Also the state flats blocks attract crime and disease, so you'll need lot of cops and some social security ministry until you get state urbanizations. Also, many authoritarian buildings are enormous and good planning is essential.
The redistribution centers are good until you get the prescription center, which is much better for your societies. Also, make work the secret police when you can, as it is more effective when you use the building abilities when you have lots of secret police posts. Remember: you aren't making them happier, you're making them loyal. Also, remember to be generous with spaces between buildings, so you can fill them with authoritarian decoration, use heavily mass transit, many authoritarian buildings not only are big, they are densely populated, so don't make them lose time in traffic jams when they could being brainwashed at your lavish venues for your always loyal citizens. Hint: Check out for special abilities from your buildings, for example, you'll find the behavorial centers very interesting