I've decided to start a player diary for my most recent endeavor, a region I'm calling Twin Lakes that is based on a heightmap of the Tampere, Finland area. This isn't a recreation of the Tampere area, but is instead a typical American city. I'm pretending districts are cities in their own right, but much like North American suburban sprawl you can hardly tell what suburb you're in because they're pretty much the same.
As of this original post, the region has a population of 111,117 spread across 9 individual municipalities (districts). The major city and most populous of these is Tampere (what else?) with a population of 67,543. Major suburbs include Aspen Park (15,935), Eagle Mountain (11,896), and Hemlock (8,188). Other suburbs include Peden (2,454), Bedford (2,315), and Preston Hollow (761) . Also located in the region are the small towns of Peaster (1,097) and Bayberry (855), which will be shown later.
The metro area is served by two major highways - National Highways 45 and 320. 45 slices straight through Tampere with little access to local roads and businesses, and sees only light congestion at worst. 320, however, is one of the most congested roadways in the region. On the map below, NH 45 is shown in blue, NH 320 is shown in red.
An unexpected snowstorm moved in across the region overnight - leaving the entire city blanketed in snow and bringing temperatures into the single digits. Not exactly ideal for touring some of the prominent areas of Tampere, but alas...
The city center has given way to high-rise condos and office buildings in recent years. The courthouse, cathedral, and some old Main Street businesses can be found here, along with the oldest residential development in the entire region. The city center also features the local college and a small shopping center.
Located near the NH 45 and NH 320 junction is a large office park containing most of the city's high-rise office developments, as well as the region's largest shopping center.
While traffic is always a headache on the 320 at 8 am, you'd think it would be worse given the snow and ice accumulation. Good thing the area schools and some of the area businesses are closed for the day.
The coast is clear at this intersection along the 320 in Hemlock as what little slow plows the city had on call dig their way through the north side of the city. Gridlock, however, continues to plague the four-lane arterial as it runs adjacent to a severely over-crowded rail stop.
Speaking of which, the trains still continue to to come and go through the railyard located in the oil districts between Hemlock and Tampere.
To the north of the railyard and NH 45 is the region's largest Walmart and a random large condo development. Such developments are becoming increasingly common across the region.
That concludes our tour, for now. Hopefully the weather will improve soon so we can take a look at Eagle Mountain, Peden, and the rural communities of Peaster and Bayberry. For now, we'll conclude with this stunning aerial photo.