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A key aspect of planning, both in real life urban planning, and in SimCity, is natural disasters.

Natural Disasters in real-life Urban Planning[edit]

Many cities are constructed in places subject to flood, storm surges, extreme weather or war. City planners can cope with these. If the dangers can be localized (for flood or storm surge), the affected regions can be made into parkland or greenbelt, often with lovely results. Another practical method is simply to build the city on ridges, and the parks and farms in valleys.

Extreme weather, flood, war or other emergencies can often be greatly mitigated with secure evacuation routes and emergency operations centers. These are relatively inexpensive and unobtrusive, and many consider them a reasonable precaution for any urban space.

Many cities also have planned, built safety features, such as levees, retaining walls, and shelters.

Some planning methods might help an elite group to control ordinary citizens. This was certainly the case of Rome (Italy), where Fascism in the 1930s created ex novo many new suburbs in order to concentrate criminals and poorer classes away from the elegant town. France currently uses similar methods to control ethnic-Arabic groups on welfare.

In recent years, practitioners have also been expected to maximize the accessibility of an area to people with different abilities, practicing the notion of "inclusive design," to anticipate criminal behavior and consequently to "design-out crime" and to consider "traffic calming" or "pedestrianization" as ways of making urban life more bearable.

City planning tries to control criminality with structures designed from theories like socio-architecture or environmental determinism. These theories say that an urban environment can influence individuals' obedience to social rules. The theories often say that psychological pressure develops in more densely developed, unadorned areas. This stress causes some crimes and some use of illegal drugs. The antidote is usually more individual space and better, more beautiful design in place of functionalism.

Other social theories point out that in England and most countries since the 18th century, the transformation of societies from rural agriculture to industry caused a difficult adaptation to urban living. These theories emphasize that many planning policies ignore personal tensions, forcing individuals to live in a condition of perpetual extraneity to their cities. Many people therefore lack the comfort of feeling "at home" when at home. Often these theorists seek a reconsideration of commonly used "standards" that rationalize the outcomes of a free (relatively unregulated) market.

Natural Disasters in SimCity[edit]

The SimCity games also incorporate natural disasters - either recurring randomly (if you so chose) or by your selection. Natural disasters include flooding, tornadoes, fires, riots, earthquakes, etc. Later disasters included lightning strikes, volcanoes, meteors and attack by extra-terrestrial craft.

Effective planning can be used to limit the impact of natural disasters; for example, building enough Fire Stations (and adequately funding the fire department) can prevent a major fire from engulfing your SimCity.

Disasters in Simcity[edit]

In Simcity, disasters are a fully random occurrence, with disasters being more frequent on higher difficulty levels. While the easy difficulty may have one disaster every ten years, the medium difficult has them occur twice as often as easy, and hard has them eight times as often as easy.

     if (PolluteAverage > /* 80 */ 60) {


Fires can break out at random, and start at a random zoned building. If left unchecked, they will spread out to other burnable tiles (such as forests or other buildings). While they can burn out on their own, they will more quickly dissipate if close to a fire station.


Flooding results in widespread damage to water front properties. They will start randomly near a water edge, and will only dissipate after

Air Crash[edit]

The Airplane and Helicopter will fly around the city. If they come in contact with each other, they will explode, creating five fires within the local area.

If triggered manually from the menu, the plane will simply crash at its location.


The tornado appears randomly, and will damage terrain that it crosses. In addition, it is a point of interest for the news helicopter, which will explode when it reaches the tornado.


An earthquake will randomly destroy buildings and constructions throughout the city; about one quarter of damaged tiles will burst into flames, requiring enough fire departments to prevent damage from spreading.


A large, Godzilla-esque monster appears and attacks the city. The monster rises out of the river, and tends to attack polluted areas such as industrial zones and airports. It destroys any buildings or vehicles it touches. (In the SNES version, it is Bowser.)

It is a point of interest of the helicopter, which will explode when it contacts the monster.

It will never appear in low-pollution cities, unless triggered manually.

Disasters in SimCity 2000[edit]

Air Crash[edit]

Air crashes happen intermittently, whether "No Disasters" is selected or not. However, with "No Disasters" off, the aeroplane will explode upon collision with the ground, setting fire to surrounding tiles.


Fire tends to break in industrial or abandoned buildings. It can be fought by using "Fire" dispatches. Fires can be caused by riots, earthquakes, UFO attacks and microwave power station misfire.


Riots break out in cities with poor police coverage. They can be fought using the "Police" and "Military" dispatches.


A large, floating, monster appears over the city, zapping targets with a large ray gun. This gun produces either fire, trees or wind turbines to appear at the target, destroying buildings and roads. The monster can be fought by the "Military" dispatch.


Floods occur at random, and are most dangerous to water front properties. Placing a wall of dispatches represents building sandbag walls and levees, and as such, protects buildings. Larger floods occur on typing of the code "Noah".

Chemical cloud[edit]

The 'chemical cloud disaster occurs over polluted areas. The cloud drifts across the city, causing abandonment of buildings beneath. It is unfightable.

Nuclear meltdown[edit]

The nuclear meltdown disaster occurs randomly at nuclear power stations, especially during fires and earthquakes. It is unpreventable and renders a large area of the city, marked with radioactive symbols, uninhabitable.

Disasters in Simcity 3000[edit]

Note: All disasters in Simicity 3000 can be mitigated with the emergency siren.


See above.


See above.


A fleet of UFOs appear and randomly attack the city. They are unfightable and leave circles in corn fields. The swarm can be made larger by the cheat code "UFO swarm".

Chemical cloud[edit]

As Simcity 2000, except that the cloud also produces acid rain, which destroys road.


(3000 Unlimited only)

A large whirlpool appears randomly in the ocean. This destroys waterfront buildings and sinks ships. This disaster is unavoidable.

Space junk[edit]

(3000 Unlimited only)

Space junk is the most devastating disaster on Simcity 3000, and is completely unpreventable. It results in most of the map being destroyed and cratered. It is unavoidable and unfightable.