SimCity BuildIt: Layout Guide

SimCity BuildIt: Layout Guide

SimCity BuildIt Layout Guide

Update: This layout is an excellent beginner guide for players starting out. However, I have progressed to the point where I can of re-create my city following this guide here.  I will update this guide if I return to this layout.

Update 2: We’ve recently updated our hack tool page with a link to the first working software we’ve found! Get it while it still works! Click here to visit the page.

Hello fellow Mayors! It’s vortexrap, one of the moderators of /r/scbuildit and co-creator of posting today with my first SimCity BuildIt Layout Guide. I’ve been playing for about a month and a half so my city is relatively developed (but theres always room for improvement) and I’m here to share my city’s layout.

This guide uses some terminology that I've used but it might not be familiar with if you are a beginner or first time reader, please read the terminology section here.
If you want additional in-depth info, please read our page on city layouts here.

Without further ado, lets begin!

Setting up my Grid

First up. I like using 4×5 grid sizes. it allows for 4 residential zones as well as a strip that can be used for parks and services.

I then recommend a 4×11 city grid. You can fit 10 residential zones as well as a strip that can be used for parks and services.

I chose this grid style because I prefer less roads if possible. You can adjust this grid by having a road run horizontal at row 6 (Grid Area 2) and you now have the standard 4×5 grid to work with.
Same Grid Layout
Sample Grid Layout

I’ve extended this grid all along the eastern (left) side and set up my industrial area along the coast to the west.

Here’s a view of my entrance:

City Layout - Entrance
City Layout – Entrance

Heres another view of my residential area:

City Layout
City Layout

Here is a complete overview of my city, grid, and buildings. (Click on the picture for an enlarged picture)

City Layout (Overview)
City Layout (Overview)


Organizing My Industrial Area

This is an area I am particularly proud of. Along the bottom, I have set up my factories right along the edge of the map. Along the top I have set up all my stores (I’ll occasionally get some speech bubbles from residences saying that they are happy to living close to stores). In this middle area, (a 3×2) I’ve arranged my services (water, sewage, waste management).

I was shooting to maximize every piece of land in this area and played around with many different layouts and configurations until finding my current layout.

I have top tier (no pollution) services placed here. You may have pollution if you place dirty buildings here.
My extra 1×1 water towers and wind turbines are placed here temporarily until I need the space.
City Layout - Industry
City Layout – Industry
I've got room to expand to the right and a place to put a new factory if I am able to at higher levels.

Here is another zoomed out view.

City Layout - Stores
City Layout – Industry (Zoomed Out)

Oil power plants are on the top. I’ve got old T2 Sewage buildings as well as old T3 waste management buildings. These all generate dirty areas which is why I have placed them as far as possible from residential areas.

Here is my utility service buildings that generate pollution.

City Layout - Utilities
City Layout – Utilities

Keeping The Pollution Away From Sims

Separating your polluting buildings is vital to keeping Sims happy.

See our in-depth section on Utilities here.

I am using a mix of high-tech factories, mass-production and basic factories and you can see that the pollution area does not reach my residential zones. Even when placing the lowest tier factory (which has the largest dirty area) along the edge, pollution only reaches the road (still does not affect sims).

Purchase the High-tech Factory. Don't buy the Nano-tech. It offers no other advantage to a high-tech factory aside from generating no pollution (But it costs §30,000 more) You will have a dirty area in your city for good portion of the game and as such, you can place these factories around here.
City Layout - Factory Pollution
City Layout – Factory Pollution

Placing oil factories at this location generates a dirty area that only reaches the road (does not affect sims). Placing coal along the edge of the map (where my waste and sewage are) prevents the dirty area from reaching sims, but placing coal where my oil plants are currently DOES put pollution my residential area.

Buy coal and oil factories. Then fusion or nuclear depending on your city.
City Layout - Power Pollution
City Layout – Power Pollution

I have some old T2 sewage buildings placed here. Pollution does not reach residents. Placing the T1 sewage along the edge will cause pollution in Sims.

Buy the T2 sewage building until you can afford the T3.
City Layout - Sewage
City Layout – Sewage
Waste Management

This is the area I will need to improve on. My T3 garbage building puts pollution past the road and into residential areas. I’m leaving those zones blank and will either upgrade to a T4 building or simply keep moving my old waste buildings around.

City Layout - Waste Management
City Layout – Waste Management

Organizing Services

This is the million dollar question. “How do I arrange my services best?”

See our in-depth section on Coverage Services here.

Here is a view of my fire service. I have T1 service lined along the left edge and a T3 building in the center.

City Layout - Fire
City Layout – Fire

I’ve organized my T2 police buildings like this. Coverage is a perfect fit with no overlap.

This is debated pretty heavily but I do think sticking with the Tier 2 building is more effective than the T3 Building
My City - Police
My City – Police

Second view below:

My City - Police
My City – Police

Similar to fire, I have the T1 Health lined up along the left and the T3 Health in the center. I have additional coverage on the right for additional expansion.

City Layout - Health
City Layout – Health

Specialization Views

This is what I would consider the “endgame” of SimCity Build It so my city is still lacking the transportation, entertainment, and landmark specializations.

You need a minimum of 2 specializations to result in the skyscraper and luxury homes. Read up on wealth and land value here.
Overlapping coverage is alright, as multiple boosts 'stack' – that is it applies all specialization effects currently active on the residences. Avoiding overlapping coverage additional specialization boosts to new uncovered zones, so the decision is really up to you.
I would spread out your specializations and have at least 2 covering most of your residences.

My current layout leaves a strip without Park service. I’m still playing around with different layouts but I believe I will end up placing 2×2 grid sized parks to fill out empty spots eventually.

City Layout - Parks
City Layout – Parks

This was my first specialization purchase (aside from parks). No real tips/comments on this section.

City Layout - Education
City Layout – Education

This was my second specialization purchase (aside from parks).

Gambling offers the lowest key price per building of all the specializations. I highly recommend this as a specialization choice.
City Layout - Gambling
City Layout – Gambling

Coming Soon!


Coming Soon!


Coming Soon!

Miscellaneous Views

I’ve placed my government buildings up here to avoid taking up space in my ‘main’ city area where I have several specializations and boosts active. I will continue to move these buildings farther out as I expand.

City Layout - Northern View
City Layout – Northern View.

There you have it!

Thanks for reading my first ‘guide’ (one of many to come) for! Hope this post helped plan your new (or even existing) city and if you liked this guide, spread the word so more Mayors can improve their cities.

If you want additional in-depth info, please read our page on city layouts here.

Please leave any comments or suggestions here and at the forum. Also check out the subreddit /r/scbuildit, a growing community of fans of the game.

Build on Mayors!

  • Kristina

    Nice guide! Been looking for something as extensive as this! Thank you very much!

    • admin

      We’re glad you like it Kristina!

  • czeuch

    Nice guide!

    Just a few additions:

    1 – Coverage
    2 sets of health and police cover the areas below:
    100% of 6 expansion lands from the top left
    100% of 4 expansion lands
    70% of areas 9, 8, 5 (top middle)
    40% of areas 5, 6, 7 (second row of the smaller areas)

    So that means that you can get coverage for your whole city with only 2 of those for a long while.

    About fire, since the coverage is 22×22, you can’t cover everything. However it’s almost the whole map too. You can easily complement the areas with T2 fires.

    2 – Factories
    After you get to a certain quantity of residences, space will be an issue, mainly if you heavily invest on parks (I have 106k/585k population from parks). So it’s very important to have the maximum of clean services. I have 3 nano so far and the hi-tec is doing fine so far, but I’ll get to a point in which I’ll not be able to afford the 6×6 radius from the hi-tec.
    Nanos can be a very long term goal.

    That’s it!

  • Klee

    This is incredible! As my city grew, I had a hard time maximizing coverage. This is the best I’ve seen. I just remodeled my city based on your grid, but had traffic jams in the 4×5 grids. I upgraded the roads, but really should’ve just moved the apartments around. Costed a fortune :x. Oh well, live and learn. I’m only on level 16 so I’m just gonna work on saving up. Thanks again!

    • vortexrap

      Your welcome! Glad you enjoyed this guide!

  • XBK

    Heya! Any update on parks and the layout in general?

  • Zul

    Looks fresh and organised. Any chance you will be updating this layout? (:

    • vortexrap

      thanks! I’m currently trying out a different layout (see the link at the top of this guide (It has been updated)) so I may or may not return to this guide and update it.

  • Selcouth

    I know you’re not doing this layout anymore, but I don’t see how you were getting the top 4×4 grid of RZs at the entrance with four lane roads (this picture Two sets of RZs on each side of the four lane road (four total) cause traffic complaints for me.

    • vortexrap

      When this happens I just move around my residential zones to other parts of my city.. or I upgrade the roads

      • Selcouth

        Yes, I do the same.

        In the pictures above you have 4×4 grids of RZs with four lane roads right? I can’t replicate without traffic complaints. What’s going on there? Am I seeing it wrong?

        • vortexrap

          Its 4×5 grids which should help ease congestion..The roads are upgraded to 4 or 8 lane roadways so It might just be that its truly time to upgrade to the 8 lane

  • Stupid Donuts

    I’ve been keeping my “level” low. Is there any disadvantage to this? I notice that you’re at level 33 with a population of 240k. I’m at level 21 with a population of 250k, am I missing out on something by not leveling up? I kind of like having the level be lower.

    • vortexrap

      Yes I leveled up very quickly to access the new products and stores versus having a high population. its a trade off that is a personal choice.. I’m currently trying to work on the (2.5 Million Layout). So far so good I have about a quarter of it done but its going to take some time.

  • iClique

    Looks GREAT!!! But why would you waste beautiful beachfront property on ugly factories, sewage, power, etc?!? Why not throw those in a back corner like this:

    • Selcouth

      I leave the factories and shops along the beachfront so that I can quickly see all of the interactable buildings in one view. I know what’s queued on the factories, what’s queued on the shops, and if anyone is slacking.

  • Kishore

    My prolem is that all the area is full and no space left. All expansion done and no Dirty Radii. What to do?? Please Reply.

  • I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  • DT

    Nice guide. Superb read for beginners.

  • zippo

    Hey there, nice layout but I dont get it how the first t1 fire covers your most bottom two buildings. If i place the t1 fire like you my bottom 2 buildings are not covered…

  • Shazwan

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if you are going to do a guide on transportation and also education. I am very intrigue with the whole layout ideas and I have been following with it quite thoroughly.

    Hope to hear from you soon! 😀

  • estrickland1

    I just wish you would have added the transportation layout before quitting. I followed this for a few days, upgrading my services and all. Then I realized you didn’t have a section for transportation. I’ll get it figured out though.

  • klurosu

    I was wondering if you are going to do a guide on transportation and also education

  • The best guide! Thanks a lot!

  • Interesting and effective layout made! I’m just wondering what are those peach colored squares on the northern and the eastern part of the layout given. I’m guessing those are suppose to be some sort of health building (Clinic to be precise).

  • Schmooze

    hi. I agree with the comment regarding beachfront property! Why waste the most beautiful ocean beach area on factories? It’s just as easy to put those in the rear and put mansions or big skyscrapers in the most desirable areas. I’m into an aesthetic and functionable city. Now that I’m at a level to unlock. Beach goodies , like sunbathers and beach volley ball, u may want to rethink factories along your beautiful beach.

  • Robtropolis

    I agree with one of the comments about beachfront property and factories. I have all of my Tokyo skyscrapers along the beachfront because at night time, all of the lights from the Tokyo skyscrapers reflect along the beach and it looks absolutely cool. I prefer factories and such along the opposite side of the beach near the tunnel. It looks way better and I can still easily see what’s in production in one view. I did all of this even before the beach property update. With factories and such along the beach, it is even uglier now with beach property added to the mix, not to mention the fact that the new beachfront properties boost population. With factories, power plants and such along the beach, the new beachfront properties will have less of an effect on increasing population. So trust me guys, this guide is not bad but you will regret it if you build factories, power plants and such along the beach. Thanks for reading, bye.

  • nick

    But your city looks so depressing! All the factories at the front, is it really that hard to click them if they are the back. your poor sims.

  • Dave Cawkwell

    I don’t understand why you have placed your dirty factory area next to the beach in the highest value portion of land. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the factories as far away as possible so they have easy access to the beach buildings, without being next to the dirty area?

    • Matthew Surefire

      Look at the date this was made. It is long before the beach update came out. This layout ensured you didn’t have to keep moving your dirty areas around to make room for residential buildings as you bought expansion land. You could set and forget your dirty areas and focus on your residential expansion.

    • David Van Horn

      I did it his way until I expanded to the top, then transferred all the factories to the top out of range of houses so then I could have a cool little Tokyo town near the beach

  • Budisanto Tanoto

    Cool design layout, I adapted some of your tips to my city. Thanks, man!

  • Thenightguy

    This is very helpful, thank you for taking the time to explain it! I
    have only one question: The “skin-colored” thing – on the top row of
    the free spaces (next to the T1 fire station and parks) – what are these
    buildings? schools?

    P.S. – positions: y=-5 x=13//y=-5 x=23//y=-5 x=33 etc.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • C-Dog S.

      I think those are the small medical buildings.

  • Johnny Nguyen

    will there be a update for this layout?

  • David Van Horn

    please post an update! I used this layout from the beginning and would love to see how you’ve organized your services since then

  • Paul Seow

    Not as useful when I tried it. SimCIty Buildit now has beach expansions so the space is wasted.

  • eliezer cazares

    HAHA, all your industry is around the coast. fuck nature. i mind a lot those details. i try to preserve water reservoirs and such, even though they’re not accounted for it.. neither are the little alleys leading to each one of your production facilitys. they only need one access to a road, a side is enough. cool design though.

  • H20_ hilarious

    Look at this my first T1 fire service is not reaching my first residential block.i think this layout sucks
    Answer plss ASAP 🙂

    • H20_ hilarious

      This sorry forgot to include on my main comment..

  • nznojunk

    Can you please post an updated map image, after the beach update, so we can see where you moved your industry?

  • Barefoot Phoenix

    I think It has not effect although he mount the factory near coast becuase this game is Simcity on mobile no fuction effect for locate value This is not simcity4 on PC