A post on Second Avenue Sagas alerted me to a fascinating little detail in the filming of the upcoming Batman movie – a highly detailed subway map that has been put together for the fictional Gotham City:The level of detail the map goes into is quite fantastic, especially if you compare it with the New York Subway map.

If one is to nitpick (and there’s a fair bit of nit-picking in the comments of the Second Avenue Sagas post, line 2 seems like it would be extremely expensive for very little benefit while line J is strange in that it skirts around what seems to be the city centre without making connections to any lines that would take you there.

A couple of years back I created a dream metro system for a city I had created (larger map here):Here’s the central part of that city and a zoomed out version of the whole city (though I did update it further from that version) – quite a lot of drawing I must say!

While it’s arguable that fantasy maps for make believe cities don’t necessarily have particularly much point (except for being quite a lot of fun), I have found some of the thinking behind which lines should intersect with which other lines, how to create a system that’s efficient, not unnecessarily duplicative and is at least somewhat realistic. The system above is for a city that I estimate would have 5-6 million people, so that’s why its network is so extensive. And, after all, it was drawing maps of make believe cities as a child which made me know I wanted to spend my life being an urban planner.

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  1. And, after all, it was drawing maps of make believe cities as a child which made me know I wanted to spend my life being an urban planner.

    What sparked my interest in urban railway systems was, as a twelve year-old, watching the original (1974) The Taking of Pelham 123!

    1. Ha ha me too, I still play sim city all the time and I’m just about finished my planning degree.

      Although these days I draw maps for real cities (i.e. Auckland), it’s a bit more fun when you have real life constraints and opportunities to work with, rather than making it all up.

  2. And here come all the confessions of an urban planner now.

    And here is mine:

    I also drew maps like that and still also play Sim City 4 and strangely enough it was SC4 that was the major catalyst that pushed me into Urban and Transport Planning.
    And like Cameron I also did study at UoA in Masters of Planning Practice but I placed it on hold half way through (5 years of Uni was enough and I needed a break) and joined (ah well might as well fess up 😛 ) Veolia Transdev in running Auckland’s Metro Rail 😀

    I thought I might also post these two pic links of the imagination running wild in SC4

    http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p5/Palpatine001/SC4/Solaria-1314066649-1.png (still a work in progress) OR

    And this latest one

    Ah well – we all think alike here?


  3. Also, although I’ve only ever played Sim City 3, it always seemed to discourage mixed use areas, in favour of keeping the industrial areas all well away from the city (although it did favour rail over road).

    1. You can mix residential and commercial quite comfortably, plus high tech industry. Dirty or manufacturing industry produced pollution which destroys the desirability of anything else around it. A bit like in real life.

      Also I find it is very easy to start with low density road based development, but as your city grows you need to switch to intenifying and building public transport otherwise the traffic and pollution kills it off. Also like real life!

      1. It might have even been Sim City 2. It was definitely a dos game that I played in an emulator. There were no “high tech” industry. Only polluters. But you are right, I used to hub 9 residential sites around a commercial site, that played well.

  4. The thing I immediately noticed with both the Gotham City network and your fantasy network is that in neither do all the routes meet at a single point. Compare those with the Auckland network where most bus and all rail routes are funnelled towards Britomart, concentrating connectivity at the CBD, and making PT travel that doesn’t involve going into the centre significantly less convenient compared with going ito the centre.

  5. Wow, the city you’ve created is just… Wow! I’m very impressed!
    I wish I could do something like that eventually!
    Did you give it a name? 😛

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