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Notable changes from SimCity 2000 to 3000 were the introduction of waste management, better management of the power and water grids, the addition of farms, much larger maps, and a news ticker for status updates to replace the old popup-style newspaper (which many people were unable to close when SC2K was on the fastest speed setting). However, SC3K removed the ability to construct arcologies, but some feel that the huge buildings were only included because of SC2K's small map size, which prevented too many people from inhabiting a city at once.

Real-world landmarks were also introduced for the first time in SC3K, but were strictly for aesthetic purposes only. Landmarks in the game include the CN Tower, Notre Dame, the Bank of China Tower, and the Empire State Building.

Like Simcity 2000's Sim City Urban Renewal Kit (SCURK) tool, Simcity 3000 had its own building modifier called BAT (Building Architect Tool). However, BAT was based on the idea of building blocks (not unlike Lego bricks). Because of the negative reactions on the limited possibilities with SCURK, BAT2 (Building Architect Plus) was introduced with the ability to add custom-made props.

Despite the huge amount of buildings and artists involved with BAT, it hasn't gained the cult-status SCURK has. Another possible reason is that BAT didn't allow people to create and edit cities by placing buildings free-of-charge, unlike SCURK's city editor, thus lessening BAT's appeal. depending on the real world city you are building your custom building degigns will be diffrent in a sity of 150,000 people spead evenly through out the map will of cource have the problem of too much residental when that figure gets to 250,000 people with more development. so your BAT style may be to include residental into your comercial or industrial buildings. i once tried to re-create the U hual complex in my city its a industrial zone near the included student housing for the nearby university. in a another located was a corner gas station that i made 2x2 in size and included 2 other residential units. with a bus stop for a out bound bus part of Metro #17 metro 111 also passed outbound on the other side of the zone but did not include a bus stop. i also exsperimented with 4x4 tile light housing tracts granted in real life there were more houses in these 4x4 tracts then i was trying to build in real life. but nonetheless a new bat building style was born 4x4 building block sized house. if your trying to recreate New york city on the other hand you will mainly focus your BAT on trying to build high density type buildings.but the drawback to newyork city is is a massive monster occupying hundreads of square miles and would also need a monster amount of citys ajacent to each other to try re-create.