Zoning is the process of adding the designated zones adjacent to roads for building procedures and determines the type of building being constructed. There are three different types of zones: residential, commercial, and industrial. Zones can be assigned by using the four tools for zoning: "fill" to completely zone a section; "marquee" to draw a square-shaped area to cells within the area; "brush" of two sizes to fill empty cells.[1]


Citizens may demand zones to maintain the city's economy and balance. Imbalance of zones may create bankruptcy, unemployment, and discontent, causing citizens to abandon buildings and decrease population growth. The zone demands can be viewed in the user interface. The demand bars indicate zones that are being demanded.[1]

  • Green indicates demand for residential zones
  • Blue indicates demand for commercial zones
  • Yellow indicates demand for industrial and office zones


Type Description
Low density residential
Low-density residential
Low-density residential provides suburban homes for typical families. They generate lower income than a high-density residential and houses fewer people.
High density residential
High-density residential
High-density residential provides urban homes for young adults. They generate higher income than a low-density residential and houses more people.
Low density commercial
Low-density commercial
Low-density commercial are small businesses selling products produced by industrial zones. They serve fewer customers and produce moderate noise pollution.
High density commercial
High-density commercial
High-density commercial are larger businesses that serve more customers, produce more noise pollution, and require higher educated workers.
Industrial zones provide jobs for workers with lower education and manufacture goods for commercial zones. They produce a large amount of pollution.
Office zones are industrial zones with the primary goal of producing more jobs to citizens. Offices do not produce goods nor pollution in the expense of more jobs and higher educated workers.
De-zone is the process of removing zoned land. Alternatively, right-clicking on a zoned land with any of the zoning tools can also de-zone the land.



The concept behind zoning versus individual placement was discussed during development. During development, the developers have clearly planned the idea of zoning rather than individual placement as it was believed that individual placement would turn the game into an editor rather than a city builder. It was also impractical of communicating constantly game-changing information in a sense of the artistic talent of the player, for example, to place ten tenements when the game only required three. Eventually, as the game progresses to more technological levels, the player would have to manually upgrade each and every of the thousands of placed buildings.

As a result of the thought experiment, the idea of zoning came to light to simulate closely to city-planning by establishing guidelines for the citizens and companies to work in. Players could take advantage of the grid system and have more control over the zoning area.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Cities: Skylines User Manual". Paradox Interactive.
  2. "Cities: Skylines - Dev Diary 2: Zoning". Paradox Interactive. 7 October 2014.