User Manual
Cities: Skylines



Welcome to Cities: Skylines        

Quick Start Guide        

System Requirements        

Mouse Controls        

Default Key Commands        

General Controls        

Game Speed        

Main Menu        

Game Mods        

Starting a New Game        

User Interface        

1)        Areas        

2)        Milestones        

3)        Game Time        

4)        City name        

5)        Advisor        

6)        Zoning demands        

7)        Bank Balance        

8)        City Service Panels        

9)        Population and Happiness        

10)        Bulldozer        

11)        Free Camera Mode        

12)        Info Views        

13)        Chirper        

14)        Pause Menu        

Building your City        


Zoning and Buildings        


Water and Sewage        

Garbage Disposal        

Healthcare and Safety        


Public transportation        


Making Your City Prosper        

Milestones and unlocking        




Land Value and City Attractiveness        

Upgrading Buildings        

Abandoned and Burned Down Buildings        

Natural Resources        

Pollution and Noise        

Outside Connections        


Unique Buildings        


Editor tools        


Customer Service        


Colossal Order Credits        

Paradox Interactive        

Welcome to Cities: Skylines


In Cities: Skylines you are the creator of your own city. This city builder has a large map and it offers endless sandbox play in a city that keeps offering new areas, resources, and technologies to explore, continually presenting the player with new challenges to overcome.

You can build your own city by drawing roads, zones, water pipes, and power lines to lay the foundation for your growing city’s infrastructure. You will manage everything from health and safety, to education, industry, and much more. By setting up rules for your city’s policies and economy, you can make it prosper and grow into the city of your dreams – or nightmares.

Managing the city is an exciting challenge, and we’re here to help you to get started!

Quick Start Guide

You can start playing the game in 10 easy steps by following the instructions below:

  1. Select “New Game” from the main menu.
  2. Select a map.
  3. Start building your city by selecting the road tool from the menu at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Draw a road connecting to a highway. You can start drawing a road by clicking the left mouse button  at a selected point on the map. Place the road by clicking the left mouse button again.
  5. Set up zones for housing, commercial services, and industry with the zoning tool next to the road tool. Buildings are created in the assigned zones as soon as they are set up.
  6. Select the electricity tool to build a power plant for your city. You can see your electric network as a light blue area around the buildings and power plants. TIP: You can build power lines to transfer electricity over longer distances.
  7. Build a water pumping station next to a water source.
  8. Draw a network of water pipes from the water pumping station to provide your city with fresh water.
  9. Build a water drain pipe and connect it to the water network to handle sewage.
  10. Continue expanding your city by building more roads and assigning new zones next to them as needed. As your city grows, new services are unlocked. Build landfills to take care of the garbage, health care to keep your citizens healthy, and schools to provide education for your citizens as the services become available. Police and Fire departments will keep your city safe from crime and fires.

System Requirements

Minimum: The game is playable with adequate graphics quality using a system matching or exceeding the given specifications.

Recommended: The game runs with full graphics quality and desirable frame rate using a system matching or exceeding the given specifications.



Operating system

Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 (64-bit), OS X 10.9 (64-bit), Ubuntu 12.04 (64-bit)

Microsoft Windows 7/8 (64-bit), OS X 10.10 (64-bit), Ubuntu 14.10 (64-bit)


Intel Core 2 Duo, 3.0GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+, 3.2GHz

Intel Core i5-3470, 3.20GHz or AMD FX-6300, 3.5Ghz

System memory



Hard drive space

4 GB

4 GB

Graphics card

nVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, 512 MB or ATI Radeon HD 5670, 512 MB (Does not support Intel Integrated Graphics)

nVIDIA GeForce GTX 660, 2 GB or AMD Radeon HD 7870, 2 GB (Does not support Intel Integrated Graphics)

DirectX (Windows only)

Version 9.0c


Mouse Controls




Move pointer

Mouse/Trackpad motion

Mouse/Trackpad motion

Select item/activate button

Left mouse button

Left mouse button

Control camera

Edge scrolling

Edge scrolling

Rotate camera

Middle mouse button (hold) + move mouse left and right

Middle mouse button (hold) + move mouse left and right

Zoom camera

Scroll wheel (up = zoom in, down = zoom out)

Scroll wheel (up = zoom in, down = zoom out)

Tilt camera up/down

Middle mouse button + move mouse up and down

Middle mouse button + move mouse up and down

Cancel current selection

Right mouse button

Right mouse button

Build a road

Left mouse button (click) + move mouse + left mouse button (click)

Left mouse button (click) + move mouse + left mouse button (click)

Default Key Commands

In Cities: Skylines you can customize the key bindings from the Options menu.

General Controls



Control camera



Rotate camera right/left



Tilt camera up/down


FN + cursor left/FN + cursor right

Zoom camera



Exit current menu or tool



Residential zoning tool (low)



Residential zoning tool (high)



Commercial zoning tool (low)



Commercial zoning tool (high)



Industrial zoning tool



Office zoning tool



De-zoning tool



Bulldoze tool



Screen capture

F11 (Steam screen capture F12)

F11 (Steam screen capture F12)

Pause Menu



Game Speed




Space bar

Space bar

Normal (x1)



Fast (x2)



Fastest (x4)



Main Menu

Main menu has the following options:

  • CONTINUE – You can instantly resume your latest game session by selecting “Continue”. This option is available only after the game has been played and there is an existing game save.
  • NEW GAME – Start a new game.
  • LOAD GAME – Opens a list of saved games. Select a saved game from the list and select “Load” to play.
  • TOOLS – Tools include various editors and tools for modifying existing assets or creating your own custom content.
  • OPTIONS – Options include various settings for the game like graphics, audio and gameplay.
  • EXIT – Close the game.
  • PARADOX ACCOUNT – Log in to your existing Paradox Account or register a new one.
  • NEWS FEED – Shows the latest news from the publisher and the developer related to Cities: Skylines.
  • STORE – Link to store offering more purchasable content for Cities: Skylines.
  • STEAM WORKSHOP – You can download mods and share your custom made content to Steam Workshop here.

Game Mods

The game comes with premade mods that can be used to alter gameplay. In addition to these, you can get more mods from Steam Workshop. You can also share mods you have created through Steam Workshop.

  • UNLIMITED MONEY – Player has an unlimited amount of money at their disposal.
  • UNLOCK ALL - All milestone unlockable items are unlocked when this mod is active. This does not unlock Unique Buildings or Monuments, but it does unlock all Unique Building levels.
  • HARD MODE - A mode for experienced players with more challenge.
  • Construction costs +25%
  • Reduced zone demand
  • upkeep costs +25%

 Starting a New Game


When you start a new game you can select a map which determines the overall climate and terrain features. By taking a look at the map info, you can see the outside connections, natural resources and other important features the map has. A few maps come with the game, but under the Tools menu there is a Map Editor for making your own maps or editing existing ones.

Besides the map, you can choose to use left-side traffic or customize the city’s name.

User Interface


  1. Areas

Toggle between the Area View and the Game View.

The city map consists of square shaped pieces called areas. You will get the first area for free and unlock new areas later at certain milestones.

  1. Milestones

To open the Milestones panel, click the Milestones button.

In the Milestone panel you can see the requirements and unlocks for the upcoming milestone. Fulfilled milestones can be browsed backwards by pressing the arrow icons next to the milestone progress bar.

You can also see the milestone progress from the milestone button. The button will fill clockwise with green color as you get closer to the next milestone’s requirements.

  1. Game Time

As you play Cities: Skylines, in-game time passes at a default rate of one in-game week per one minute of gameplay. You can see the current in-game date from the Time Panel and adjust how fast the time passes in the game. Tip: You can also use 1, 2 and 3 keys to adjust the game speed and SPACE to pause / resume the game.

  • PLAY/PAUSE – Pause or resume game progress.
  • GAME TIME – Shows the in-game date.
  • ACCELERATE TIME – There are three speed settings for the in-game time. Normal, fast and very fast. Fast speed doubles the normal speed and very fast quadruples it.
  1. City name

Here you can see the City’s name and by clicking the small info button next to it, you can see more information about your City.

  1. Advisor

You can toggle the Advisor visibility by clicking the Advisor button.

The advisor panel shows information and tips about the active tool or feature when visible.

  1. Zoning demands

Zoning demand bars indicate which zones are needed to maintain your city’s economy and well-being in balance.

Industry needs workers and someone to buy their goods, citizens need shops and groceries to fulfill their day-to-day needs, and commercial businesses need customers to buy their products and services. An imbalance in zoning will lead to unemployment, bankruptcy, and general discontent. This in turn will eventually lead to citizens abandoning buildings and/or negative population growth. The fuller the zoning demand bar is, the higher the need is for zones of that type.

Each zone is identified with a color:

  • GREEN = Residential zones (low and high density)
  • BLUE = Commercial zones (low and high density)
  • YELLOW = Industrial and office zones (industry and offices)
  1. Bank Balance

The bank balance shows your available funds and the weekly income and expense budget balance.

  1. City Service Panels

The city services panels include all the essential tools for building your city and keeping its citizens safe and satisfied. Some of the city services are unlocked as your city grows. You can check the requirements by clicking or hovering over a menu item.  City services include the following panels:

  • ROADS – The Road panel is used for building roads.
  • ZONING – Zones are set and de-zoned by using the zones panel.
  • DISTRICTS – The Districts panel is for managing districts and their industrial specializations.
  • ELECTRICITY – The Electricity panel has options to build power lines and power plants.
  • WATER & SEWAGE – The Water & Sewage panel is used for providing the city with fresh water and the means to dispose of the sewage.
  • GARBAGE – The Garbage panel includes options for managing garbage disposal.
  • HEALTHCARE – The Healthcare panel can be used for providing your city with medical services, but also to take care of the deceased.
  • FIRE DEPARTMENT – The Fire department panel is used for managing fire safety in your city.
  • POLICE DEPARTMENT – The Police department panel is used for managing crime rates in your city.
  • EDUCATION – The Education panel has different options for providing education for the citizens.
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT – The Public Transport panel has options to manage different public transport modes.
  • DECORATION – You can beautify your city through the decoration panel and make your city a more pleasant place for its citizens.
  • UNIQUE BUILDINGS – You can select and place available Unique Buildings to your city from the Unique Buildings panel.
  • MONUMENTS – Monuments are the ultimate City Services. Build Monuments for your city from this panel.
  • ECONOMY – You can manage your city’s economy from the money panel by adjusting taxation, city service budgets, and taking loans.
  • POLICIES – The City and district policies are managed through the policies panel.
  1. Population and Happiness

The population counter shows the number of citizens living in your city and the current trend for the population.

Next to the population counter is the happiness icon indicating the overall happiness and well-being of the citizens.

  1.  Bulldozer

Bulldozer mode can be toggled on and off from the Bulldozer button. When the bulldozing mode is active, other tools and panels are disabled.

When the game is in bulldozing mode, you can demolish roads, buildings, and other infrastructure by using the mouse pointer over the object and left-clicking your mouse. If you bulldoze a building or road that you have just recently built, its cost will be refunded to you. – inconsistency, in-game text says major part of the costs…

  1.  Free Camera Mode

You can toggle Free Camera Mode on and off with this button. While Free Camera Mode is on, you can move and control the view unrestricted.

The game UI is hidden while the Free Camera mode is on. You can return to normal game mode by pressing the ESC button.

  1.  Info Views

Info views offer insight into different city services, resources, and issues, such as fire safety, land value, and the amount of pollution. The map view changes with the active info view highlighting the coverage of the selected item.

Some info views have tabs that can show different aspects of the selected view. As an example, Education info view has separate tabs for elementary, high school, and university education.

Info Views are practical not only for tracking service, water, and electricity coverage on the map, but also to predict possible problems or growing needs in the city.

  1. Chirper

Chirper is an in-game social media source, which shows “Chirps” from your citizens. Chirps can be about various events and current happenings in your city, but they might also reflect your citizens' moods and opinions about various things, such as policies or city services.

Keep an eye on the Chirper; it might give you some valuable clues about your citizen’s well-being.

  1.  Pause Menu

Opening the Pause Menu will pause the game and has the following options:

  • SAVE GAME – Opens a panel for saving your current game. You can save a game by overwriting an old game save or create a new game save by giving it a unique name.
  • LOAD GAME – Load game opens a list of game saves. Select a save to be loaded and select “Load Game” to play.
  • OPTIONS – Options has settings for graphics, audio and gameplay. There is also an option to reset the game to default settings.
  • EXIT – Quits the game and returns to the Main Menu.

Building your City

To build a city service infrastructure or buildings, select a service from the city service panel. This will open more options related to the selected city service. For example, “Roads” will have tools and options to build roads and the “Electricity” panel would have options for building Power Lines or different kinds of power plants.


Roads are the most basic tool for building your city, but also the most important. There are several different types of roads available and they serve mainly two purposes: traffic and zoning.

Certain road types are more suitable for residential zones and some for faster and heavier traffic. Some of the heavier roads do not even allow zoning next to them. Also, larger roads generate more noise pollution and decrease the land value around them.

Building a road

Roads can be drawn with the Road Tool. There are four different options for drawing roads. There is also an option to make roads snap to zone grid.

  • STRAIGHT ROAD – The straight road tool allows you to draw roads in straight lines only.
  • CURVED ROAD – With the curved road tool, you can make roads that curve and bend. To make a curved road, the first left mouse click makes a point which is used for bending the road and the second click will build the road.
  • FREEFORM ROAD – Freeform road tool allows you to draw straight and curved roads.
  • UPGRADE ROAD – Upgrade tool allows you to upgrade existing roads to a different road type. City service buildings and other overlapping objects can prevent roads from being upgraded.

To build a straight road, first click the left mouse button at the starting point, drag the mouse cursor to plan the road placement, and click again to build the road. You can cancel road building with the right mouse button.


Click the left mouse button at the starting point.


Plan the road by dragging the end-point with the mouse cursor.


Click the left mouse button again at the ending point. The road is built and the zoning grid appears next to the road.

One-way Roads

Some of the roads are one-way and allow traffic in one direction only. The direction in which the road is drawn also determines the direction of the traffic. Traffic will move from the starting point to the end point of the road.

Zones and Buildings


Zones allow you to decide where houses, shops and factories will be built. When an empty zone is assigned a zone type, buildings will be built there automatically over time.

Zone types are divided into four different categories based on the building type that they will spawn:

  • RESIDENTIAL – Residential zones provide housing for people.
  • COMMERCIAL – Commercial zones will have shops and other services selling the goods produced in the industrial zones.
  • INDUSTRIAL – Industrial zones provide jobs for people and products for the commercial zones.
  • OFFICE – Office zones provide pollution free jobs for higher tech level citizens, but they produce only a small amount of goods.

Zone densities

There are different densities for residential and commercial zones. Densities have varying effects based on the zone type. In general, higher density zones work more efficiently compared to low density zones, but other effects may also apply. For example: low-density residential zones attract families with children and high-density residential zones are more attractive for young adults. Higher density commercial zones can serve more customers than the low-density commercial zones.

Industrial and office zones do not have separate density classes. Instead, they both count for Industrial zoning demands, but work in different ways.


To add new buildings to your city, you first need to build a road which allows zoning next to it. After the road is built, you can select the zoning tool and pick the desired zone type from the available zones. There are four basic tools for zoning: fill, marquee, and brush.

  • FILL – The fill tool allows you to assign zones to complete areas.
  • MARQUEE – With the marquee tool, you can draw a square shaped area, and all zone cells within that area will be assigned to the selected zone type.
  • BRUSH (two sizes) – Brush tools allow zoning by “coloring” the empty cell with the brush tool.


Assigned zones can be reverted back to empty zones by de-zoning them. De-zoning is done by using the ”de-zoning” zone type from the zone options in the Zoning panel, or by right clicking a zone. You can also de-zone zones with buildings in them. Existing buildings will gradually be replaced with buildings of the new zone type.


When an empty area is assigned a zone type, buildings gradually start to fill it. There are buildings of various sizes and they will have an appearance based on the zone type they are built on.

You can select individual buildings and see information about them and their residents. Building information will vary based on the building type.

  • General Information
  • Building name and type
  • Building status (you can get more information by hovering over the status icons)
  • Residential Information
  • Building level and tips for upgrading the building (Does not apply to city service buildings)
  • Number of residents
  • Resident’s level of education
  • Age distribution of the residents
  • Commercial and Industrial Information
  • Building level and tips for upgrading the building (Does not apply to city service buildings)
  • Workers
  • Education level of the workers
  • Available jobs

City Service Buildings

Most city service buildings need to be built on zones next to roads. Select a building from the options and place it on the map. When a City Service building is selected, you can see its coverage on the map from the color of the roads before placing it. Green roads indicate that the service is available in that area and red roads indicate that the service cannot reach that part of the city.

  • City Service Building Information
  • Building name and type
  • Building status (you can get more information by hovering over the status icons)
  • Operational status
  • Description
  • Upkeep Cost / Week
  • Capacity/Efficiency (Vehicles, raw material storage, power output, water intake, etc.)
  • Number of vehicles in service (Garbage trucks, fire engines, patrol cars, etc.)


Your city needs electricity and this can be provided by different power plants. Power plants usually cause some ground and/or noise pollution, which is good to take into consideration when deciding the placement of the power plant.

Some power plants, such as wind turbines or hydro power plants, obtain their power from sources such as wind or flowing water. Their power output depends on the wind or water flow speed, so place these power plants carefully to get the most out of them. You can see their potential power output next to them, when placing them.

Electricity Grid & Power Lines


Buildings support a power grid around them. This can be seen in as a light blue area surrounding the buildings in the Electricity city service or info view.

Ordinarily, electricity can be distributed from building to building over short distances. Sometimes it is necessary to transfer power over greater distances, and this can be done using power lines. Power lines can be found in the Electricity panel in the City Services. Place power lines within the power grids to connect them.

Water and Sewage


Your citizens and the city services need fresh water and a way to get rid of sewage to stay healthy and function properly. Remember to place the Water Pumping Stations so that they will not take in polluted water, as this will cause health issues in your citizens.

Build Water Pumping Stations connected to a water pipe network to provide fresh water for your city. You will need to build a Water Drain Pipe and connect it to the water network to handle sewage. You can see water pipes and the area covered by the piping as a light blue area around the water pipes in the Water city service view or info view.

Garbage Disposal

The buildings in your City produce garbage and it needs to be disposed of. To do this your City needs a landfill or an incinerator plant to process all the garbage.

As your city grows, you will need more landfills and/or incinerators to take care of the waste. Please keep in mind that the garbage trucks use the roads to move around the city and collect the garbage. Traffic jams or long distances will slow down garbage collection and can lead to garbage piling up.

Removing Landfills

You cannot bulldoze a landfill that is not empty. You can empty landfills, but while the landfill is making space for more garbage, it cannot take any new garbage in. While the landfill is being emptied, the garbage is transported to other empty landfills or incinerators.

Emptying landfills

When a landfill is full, you can switch it to an emptying mode. The garbage trucks will start relocating the garbage to an incinerator or to another landfill if there are no incinerators available.

Healthcare and Safety

Ensuring the health and safety of your citizens is important if you want your citizens to enjoy living in your city.


Healthcare services like Medical Clinics and Hospitals will keep your citizens more healthy and take care of the sick. Healthcare services have ambulances that will transport sick people to clinics and hospitals for treatment. If an ambulance is not available at the moment, the citizens will try to walk to the closest clinic or hospital.


In a city full of life, death will eventually face the sick and the old. Deceased citizens need to be transported to cemeteries and crematoriums where they will be taken care of. Cemeteries and Crematoriums provide your city with hearses that transport the dead to one of the aforementioned services. If a corpse is not picked up within a certain time period, the building will eventually be abandoned.

When a cemetery runs out of room, it can be emptied in the same logic as landfills. When set to emptying mode, the hearses will start moving the corpses to crematoriums or other cemeteries if a crematorium is not available.

Fire Safety

In the history of humanity, fires have often ravaged whole cities. Your city needs Fire Houses and Fire Stations to keep it safe from fires. Accidents may happen, and that is why firefighters are needed.

Fire Houses and Fire Stations will decrease the Fire Hazard in your city as they always have a number of Fire Engines prepared for dispatch in case of emergency.

Police and Crime

Unemployment and general unhappiness in the city will increase crime. Police services are needed to maintain law and order in the city. Police will enforce law by fighting crime and taking care of traffic accidents.

Police services will increase the well-being of the citizens and reduce crime in the city.


Schools provide children, teenagers, and young adults with education. The education level affects how much the buildings in your city can be upgraded.

  • Elementary Schools serve the children, providing your citizens with basic education.
  • High Schools serve mainly the teenagers, providing well-educated citizens for industry and businesses.
  • Universities are for young adults and adults, and they provide highly educated citizens for industry and businesses.

Public transportation

Public transportation serves citizens and reduces the number of private cars on the roads. It makes it easier for city service vehicles and commercial transports to move around the city as traffic congestion decreases.

Public transport consists of buses, metros, trains, ships, and airplanes. A well-established public transport system generates profit through ticket sales. However, this requires planning and knowledge of how the masses move in the city. Large transportation networks and infrastructure also cost a lot of money, especially metros and trains that require extensive infrastructure to work.

There are different public transport buildings like bus depots and metro stations in the Public Transport panel in City Services. A tool for drawing the transportation lines is also available for each relevant transport type.

While buses serve smaller amounts of passengers in the midst of other traffic, metros can bypass all traffic by traveling underground and transporting large numbers of passengers with speed. In addition to buses and metros, you can build a train station to allow a larger volume of tourists and goods to be transported. A harbor and an airport work much like trains, but have an increased effect on goods transportation and tourism.

Making a Public Transport Line

The line drawing tool is used to place stops for buses as well as mark the stations where the metros and trains will stop. Additional bus stops can also be placed just as easily by clicking anywhere in the middle of the line.

A public transport line needs to form a circular route, so its end point needs to connect to its starting point.


Parks, plazas, paths, pavements, and trees can be added to decorate your city. Decorations will turn your city into a more beautiful and pleasant place to live and stay in. This will help increase land values and the well-being of your citizens and attract more tourists. Decorations can be added for purely aesthetic reasons to “patch” empty spots in your city and give it some flare.

To add decorations, select a decoration from the Decoration menu and place it in your city. Pavements and paths can be drawn in the same way as roads.

Making Your City Prosper

Generally, just adding buildings to your city will not be enough to make your city progress. You need to manage your city’s budget, keep the population growing to reach new population milestones, and take care of your citizens to keep them happy and healthy.

Milestones and unlocking


As your city grows, you will reach new population milestones that unlock new services, buildings, zones, and areas for your city.

  • New services allow you to add new services to your city. Usually when you unlock a new service, you will have access to basic services of that type. Later on, you can unlock new buildings for services. Usually new buildings provide you with more effective means of managing your city.
  • New zones include higher density residential and commercial zones and office zones.
  • Unique Buildings include various significant buildings, each with separate unlocking requirements.
  • When a new area is unlocked, you can choose to buy one of the adjacent areas in the Area View to expand your city. Some of the areas can have water areas, highways, and/or natural resources. You can have a total of nine areas unlocked by the end of the game.


Your city would be nothing without the citizens who provide the workforce for industry, professionals for the different city services, and customers for the shops, among other things.

To keep your city growing, you need to take care of your citizens’ health, education and overall well-being. Healthy, educated, and content citizens are the key to running your city efficiently.

Each of the citizens has a number of different attributes that are used to measure their needs and how they can contribute to your city.


The age of a citizen affects its needs for various city services. Children need more healthcare and education than adults. Senior citizens also need more healthcare services, but also more police and fire safety services.

Young adults and adults are the backbone of your city’s workforce.


The education level of your citizens affects garbage accumulation, as well as water and electricity usage in your city. It also affects the overall Tech Level of your city, which in turn affects how the buildings are upgraded. Therefore, well-educated citizens allow more sophisticated industry and services in your city.


The health of your citizens affects their life expectancy and work efficiency. Low health will put a strain on your healthcare services and negatively affect the well-being of your citizens.

Having proper healthcare, garbage disposal services, and fresh water in your city contributes to the health of your citizens. On the other hand, noise pollution, pollution, contaminated water, and crime lower the health of your citizens, eventually making them ill and unable to work.


Your citizens’ happiness has an effect on how much money they spend, employment, and the crime rate. Severe lack of well-being means people leave the city because of the poor conditions.

You can affect your citizens’ happiness by keeping them safe and offering them recreation and education.

Police and fire services, parks and plazas, schools, and electricity, to name a few examples, increase the happiness of your citizens. Fires and low health have a negative effect on happiness.         



Managing your city’s economy is an essential part of running the city successfully. You can adjust the taxation and budget from the Money panel and take loans when you have ran out of funds.

Income / Expenses

You can see a breakdown of your income and expenses and the balance of your cash flow.


You can adjust the taxation for different zones. Lower taxes increase the happiness and increase the chance for buildings to level up.  Higher taxation decreases the happiness and can reduce the efficiency of high-tax zones or force the citizens to move out of town.

Taxation for different zones will be unlocked over time as the zones become available.

City Service Budget

You can adjust the budget for various city services. Higher budgets will provide more resources for services and increase their efficiency. In practice, this can mean increased service capacity or production output, less pollution, more ambulances, patrol cars, fire trucks, etc.


When your bank balance is low and you need to build new city services, you can take loans to get more funds immediately. You can pay back loans over a period of time, but with interest.



You can select policies that affect the city and its districts from a predetermined list. Policies have both positive and negative effects. For example, a smoking ban will make citizens healthier, but it can make them unhappy. Policies can be set for different districts in the city to make them look, play, and feel different.

Set policies for a district by clicking it when the policies panel is open.

Land Value and City Attractiveness

Land value reflects the overall value of the city; City Attractiveness indicates the willingness of tourists to visit the city.

Land value is affected by various things, both positively and negatively. The player can actively increase the land value by placing parks and plazas that make the city more attractive and with city services that increase the well-being of the citizens in the area.

Pollution and crime are amongst things that lower the well-being and wealth of the citizens, and have a negative effect on the Land Value.

Land value has a direct effect on the building levels.

Upgrading Buildings

Residential, commercial and industrial zones make up a big part of the city. They represent the homes, shopping areas and workplaces of the citizens and are the source of tax income. As the Land Value and quality of life in general increases through various city services and education, the buildings will upgrade to higher level buildings. As the buildings are upgraded, they become bigger and better looking, as well as more efficient.

A high-level residential building will house more people than its lower level counterparts. Commercial zones become more versatile as they upgrade, offering different shopping and leisure opportunities to the citizens, and are able to cater to the demands of more wealthy citizens. As industrial zones increase in level, they are able to produce higher quantities of Goods, which in turn increases tax income. High-level industry will also pollute less.

Each zone has its own requirements to upgrade:

  • Residential zones depend on the education level of your citizens and the land value.
  • Industrial and Commercial zones depend on the education level of your citizens and number of city services nearby.

Abandoned and Burned Down Buildings

Sometimes buildings become abandoned due to poor living conditions or business situations. Possible reasons for abandoning a building could be excessive garbage, a lack of electricity, or not having enough workers or customers.

Occasionally, buildings can burn to the ground if the fire department fails to put out the fire in time.

Abandoned and burned down buildings lower the Land Value around them as they do not offer housing space or produce any goods. Abandoned and burned down buildings can be bulldozed to remove their negative effects on their surroundings.

If the abandoned buildings are not bulldozed, they will be inhabited again after a minimum of 4 weeks of in-game time. Burned down buildings need to be bulldozed to make room for a new building.

Natural Resources


Maps can have natural resources like forests, fertile land, oil, and ores. You can benefit from these by zoning industrial zones over the natural resources and applying relevant industrial specializations in the District city service menu.

After a policy is applied, new buildings will begin to appear in the affected industrial zone, changing its appearance. For example, industrial zones with Oil Industry Specialization will have oil pumps and petroleum processing facilities, and zones with the Forestry Specialization will have forest and saw mills.

Industrial specializations will yield more tax income from the specialized zones if there are relevant natural resources present.

Each of the natural resources and specializations related to those has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Forests (Forest Industry)

Forests are a renewable resource giving a modest increase in tax incomes, but also slightly increasing the pollution rate.

Fertile land (Farming Industry)

Fertile land is a renewable resource that gives a modest increase in tax income without producing extra ground pollution. Instead, the Agriculture Specialization will requires more water and produce more waste water.

Oil (Oil Industry)

Oil is a limited resource that will increase tax income significantly, but it also produces a lot more ground pollution and requires more electricity.

Ore (Ore Industry)

Ore is a limited resource that produces more tax income and ground pollution, although not as much as oil industry. Ore industry requires more electricity than usual industry.

Pollution and Noise

In addition to garbage and waste water, there is also ground pollution and noise pollution, which are mainly caused by industrial zones, garbage disposal (e.g. landfills), heavy traffic, and power plants.

Ground and Noise Pollution spreads within a radius around a building, and if it spreads to nearby residential areas, it lowers the citizens’ health in that area. To avoid this, residential zones should be built far enough from the source of pollution, but still close enough to allow the citizens to go to work with ease.

Pollution can be reduced with certain Policies, by leveling up the industrial buildings, or by selecting less polluting options over more polluting ones (e.g. Wind Turbines vs. Coal Power Plant).

You can track pollution from the relevant info views, but also from visual clues in the city. Industry will make their surroundings dirty and sewage will contaminate water.

Outside Connections


Outside connections boost the effectiveness of the industrial and commercial zones as they get more customers from neighboring cities. Industry will have more locations to ship their goods to, which increases their productivity and sales, thus bringing more tax income to the city. Commercial districts will get more customers in the form of tourists, increasing sales and racking up additional profit.

You can build outside connections by building a train station, a harbor, or an airport.

  • To make an outside connection for the Train, you need to build tracks to the edge of the map, or connect the tracks to existing ones that lead to the map’s edge.
  • An outside connection for a Harbor requires a waterway to the edge of the map.
  • An Airport allows outside connections automatically without any restrictions.


Tourists are temporary citizens that spend money in the city, but do not need basic services or have a home. Tourism increases the tax income of the commercial zones as the tourists stay at the hotels, spend their money at shops and boutiques, and eat at restaurants.

The amount of tourists visiting the city is defined by available public transportation and the city’s appeal. To support tourism in your city:

  • Make sure that there is enough transportation capacity to transport the tourists
  • Add unique buildings
  • Maintain high Land Value
  • Keep your Citizens happy

Unique Buildings


Unique Buildings are one of a kind buildings and attractions that are unlocked as rewards for achieving certain special requirements in the game. Unique Buildings function mainly as citizen and tourist attractions, but they also increase the land value and offer workplaces to citizens.

Unique Buildings consist of cultural buildings such as a stadium and music hall, as well as pure landmarks mirroring the real world – such as the Statue of Liberty. Building one in the city will increase the number of tourists visiting the city every week. Most of the cultural buildings have target demographics: the stadium targets mostly working age citizens and students, while the music hall appeals to educated working age citizens and seniors. Regardless of the target demographic, all Unique Buildings also have a small attraction value to the other citizen types in addition to their target groups.

Unlocking an Unique Building

Requirements for unlocking a Unique Building can range from positive to negative achievements in the game – like from producing a certain amount of Goods to reaching a Crime Rate of 90% or more. After you have unlocked a Unique Building, you can build one. You can have only one of each at a time. Built Unique Buildings in turn unlock Monuments. There are small and large Unique Buildings, with the general guideline of large ones being harder to acquire and small ones being easier.

Once a Unique Building is unlocked, it is not tied to its requirements and can be built at any time.

Building a Unique Building

To build a Unique Building you need to have it unlocked and pay its cost. A Unique Building is selected and placed in the city as all the other city service buildings.



The Monuments are the peak of development in Cities: Skylines. A Monument is a city service building that is so advanced that it basically handles the whole city's needs of that service. For example, a Fusion Power Plant offers free infinite energy, and a high-tech hospital provides the whole city with free unlimited health care.

Requirements to build Monuments

To build a Monument, you must have all the required Unique Buildings for that Monument built, and all nine map areas unlocked. When the requirements are met, the Monument becomes unlocked and can be purchased. If any of the required Unique Buildings are bulldozed or otherwise removed from the city, the Monument will become unavailable again.

Once a Monument is built, it can exist even if a Unique Building is removed. There can be as many Monuments in the city as the user can unlock.

Editor tools


Cities: Skylines comes with various editor tools for customizing maps and assets for example. You can download more detailed instructions for using the tools from Steam Workshop.



Customer Service


Colossal Order Ltd


Mariina Hallikainen

Game design

Karoliina Korppoo

Henri Haimakainen

Miska Fredman


Antti Lehto

Damien Morello

Additional programming

Essi Suurkuukka

Timo Kellomäki


Antti Isosomppi

Hans Zenjuga

Henri Haimakainen

Suvi Salminen

Tony Kihlberg

Mikko Finneman

Ulysses Graphics


Jonne Valtonen

Jani Laaksonen

Sound effects

Tapio Liukkonen

Helper of the Order

Emmi Hallikainen


Szabolcs Sárosi (art)

Nico Takeda (art)

Janne Suhonen (art)

David Rabineau (game design)


Thanks to everyone involved in the development of Cities: Skylines at Colossal Order, Paradox Interactive and huge thanks to our community for helping us making a better game! Special thanks to friends and families of the developers and to everyone who has inspired and supported us in taking on a classic city builder!


Paradox Cities: Skylines team


Andreas Renström

Karl Leino

Brand Management

Jakob Munthe


Malin Söderberg


Filip Sirc

Paradox Interactive AB


Fredrik Wester


Andras Vajlok


Susana Meza Graham


John Hargelid

Executive Vice President Game Development

Johan Andersson

Executive Vice President Brands

Johan Sjöberg

Executive Vice President of Business Development

Tobias Sjögren

Vice President of Product Acquisition

Shams Jorjani

Vice President Marketing

Daniela Sjunnesson

Executive Assistant

Anna Norrevik

Production team

Senior Line Producers

Andreas Renström

Jörgen Björklund

Associate Line Producer

Peter Cornelius

Senior Game Producer

Joe Fricano

Senior Mobile Producer

Florian Schwarzer

Game Producers

Staffan Berglén

Karl Leino

Ina Bäckström

Senior QA Manager

Artur Foxander

QA Manager

Niklas Lundström

QA Specialists

Johan Dorell

Tobias Viklund

QA Testers

Emil Andersson

Erik Elgerot

Niklas Ivarsson

Anna Ström

Kajsa Falck

Malin Furöstam

Pontus Anehäll

Victor Järnberg

Henrik von Warnstedt

Brand Management Team

Brand Managers

Marco Behrmann

Robin Cederholm

Jakob Munthe

Director of Publishing

Tomas Härenstam

Vice President Mobile

Jónas Antonsson

Marketing & PR

PR Manager

David Martinez

Streaming Producer

Matthijs Hoving

Trailer & Video Producer

Steven Wells

Senior PR & Event Manager

Anna Westerling

PR & Event assistant

Veronica Gunlycke

Community Manager

Björn Blomberg

Online Marketing Manager

Mats Wall

User Acquisition Specialist

Ferruccio Cinquemani

Graphics Producer

Max Collin  

Social Media & Email Manager

Malin Söderberg

Community Developers

John Rickne

Graham Murphy


Sales Managers

Vic Bassey

Filip Sirc

Business Developers

Sandra Neudinger

Daniel Lagergren

Paradox Online Publishing Services & IT

Senior Backend Developer

Christian Westman


BI & Analytics Manager

Brynjólfur Erlingsson

Backend Developers

Samuel Haggren

Alexander Altanis

Information Technology

Monika Nilimaa

Richard Lindkvist


Thanks to all our partners worldwide, in particular long-term partners and last, but not least, a special thanks to all forum members, operation partners and supporters, who are integral for our success

[External QA Credits Goes here]

Third Party Libraries

Copyright (c) 1988-1997 Sam Leffler

Copyright (c) 1991-1997 Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Permission to use, copy, modify, distribute, and sell this software and its documentation for any purpose is hereby granted without fee, provided that (i) the above copyright notices and this permission notice appear in all copies of the software and related documentation, and (ii) the names of Sam Leffler and Silicon Graphics may not be used in any advertising or publicity relating to the software without the specific, prior written permission of Sam Leffler and Silicon Graphics.



Copyright (C) 1995-2013 Jean-Loup Gailly and Mark Adler

Copyrights (C) From october 2004, David Tschumperlé - GREYC UMR CNRS 6072, Image team.

Copyrights (C) January->September 2004, David Tschumperlé.

Copyrights (C) 2000->2003, David Tschumperlé - INRIA Sophia-Antipolis. Odyssée group.

Copyright © 2015 NVIDIA Corporation


Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.