Citystate II: How to Fix Decaying or Bankrupted Cities

A beginner’s guide to help you get through some of the most common problems: budget deficit, bankruptcy, abandoned buildings, lack of workforce and advanced manufacturing.



Preventive measures

– With less than 20,000 population only water towers and diesel generators should be used for water and power production. Max out the number of generators before building new ones.
– Hospitals, high schools, fire and police stations are not necessary early on. Only consider building them one at a time after your city has reached 10,000 population. Hospitals are the most expensive and should be built last.
– Do not upgrade any service buildings if they are not working over capacity.
– Do not reduce tax rates if your city is still small, do not decrease the retail tax under 3%. Having about 10-15% unemployment in the beginning is normal, your population is still poor and do not induce much job creation.
– Do not build anything else than gravel roads if the traffic overlay doesn’t clearly indicate congested roads.

Emergency measures

If you are approaching bankruptcy, take the following steps.
1. Close down hospitals, fire and police stations.
2. Raise the tax rates on low income to a maximum of 18%.
3. Set the taxes on the business sectors to their default values. For retail 5%. For offices and manufacturing 7%. Property tax 1%.
4. Downgrade roads that are not congested to gravel type.
5. Destroy highways.
6. Close down the airport (especially if you’ve upgraded it!).
7. Close down the high school and in the worst case, close down the elementary schools.
8. Print money using the budget menu.


Always keep an eye on the unemployment rate.

– Lower than 5% and you are getting into a dangerous situation, when the unemployment rate reaches zero multiple businesses will start to fail and many buildings will get abandoned. This usually happens when the citizens are getting more educated and start to create more jobs in the economy.
=> Increase the tax rates on businesses by 1 to 2 points each, more if necessary.
=> Open the borders with the least developed countries to 100%. Make sure your airport is big enough to handle the influx!

– Higher than 20% and the population growth will stop. Middle- and upper-class houses will decay first, causing the population to decrease (sometimes rapidly). Immigration will decrease, causing the low-income class growth to stop.
=> Set the retail tax to 3% and manufacturing tax to 6 or 7%.
=> Set the border policy to a maximum of 40%.

Check the land value

The land value can drop for the following reasons:

– Congested roads.
Use the traffic overlay to identify the roads that need to be upgraded. There is no need to build avenues or mass transit, asphalt roads are sufficient in most cases (less than 100,000 population). By all means, do not create a large, isolated industrial area that connects to the rest of your city by a single road.

– Pollution from basic manufacturing.
Those factories, when leveling up to stage 2 and 3 will pollute their surroundings and drive the land value down considerably. This can affect advanced manufacturing and force them to shut down. More about this below.


The demand for advanced manufacturing will grow once your citizens become more educated. This demand can be hard to meet but once met can also trigger a difficult economic transition.

How to get Advanced Manufacturing buildings?

You’ll need to provide industrial lots in high land value areas with no pollution. However, since basic manufacturing often get mixed up in the middle, they tend to emit pollution and drive AMs away.
=> The easiest solution is to build light density industrial zones and to avoid packing all the industry in one place.
=> Industrial areas near water and parks with a very high land value will only be occupied by AMs.

Lack of workforce, what to do

When advanced manufacturing get built and the demand for them goes down you’ll probably experience shortages of workforce. As stated earlier this can drive your entire city into an economic crisis. 2 simple solutions again:
=> Set the retail tax to 6 then 7 then 8%. Continue increasing it SLOWLY until the unemployment is back to 5%. Adjust it back down if necessary. Keep an eye on the unemployment rate!
=> Open the borders with the least developed countries to 100%. Make sure your airport is big enough to handle the influx!

PS: Do not make a series of massive changes while being in pause, you won’t see the consequences and you could upset the economy without knowing it.

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