Theory Play Share & Discuss

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Teach Environmentalism
with Cities: Skylines

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Urban Pollution

This lesson takes a closer look at urban pollution and how to minimize it with proper urban planning!

Teacher Resources

  • Theory: Pollution and recycling.
  • Play: Play the scenario Green Power Edu and build a green city.
  • Share & Discuss: These questions focus on pollution and reducing it with green technology and planning.


  • Types of urban pollution include air, water, soil, noise, radioactive, visual and thermal pollution.
  • Cars, power plants and factories are the primary sources of air pollutants in cities.
  • High concentration of toxic elements in the soil can pose a high risk for human health and also to the ecosystem.
  • Water pollution is also a significant problem. Urban areas have the potential to pollute water in many ways. This includes runoff from streets that carries oil, rubber, heavy metals, and other contaminants from automobiles. (source)

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources


  • Recycling is the recovery and reprocessing of waste materials for use in new products.
  • Typical recycled materials include iron and steel scrap, aluminum cans, glass bottles, paper, wood, and plastics. (source)
  • Sweden is so good at recycling that it has imported rubbish from other countries to keep its recycling plants going. Less than 1 per cent of Swedish household waste was sent to landfill any year since 2011.
  • A carbon footprint means the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources


Lesson Goal

  • Play the scenario Green Power Edu. On the next slide you will find detailed instructions on how to access scenarios.
  • Pay special attention to the city's water supply and the placement of industrial zones.
  • What strategies can you utilize to reduce pollution? What is the primary problem of the city?

Gameplay screenshot

Accessing Scenarios

To access any scenario in the game:

  1. Click New Game in the main menu.
  2. Select Choose Scenario at the top.
  3. Select the right scenario from the list on the left.
  4. Click Start.

Gameplay screenshot

Hints: Pollution

  • There are three kinds of pollution in the game: ground, noise and water pollution.
  • Make sure to place water intakes and outlets as far away from each other as possible.
  • Water filtering plants and eco water outlets are excellent ways to purify sewage.
  • Planting trees, controlling industrial zone policies and building parks are the most efficient ways to reduce ground pollution.
  • Noise pollution is best reduced with trees and building industrial zones away from residential areas.

Gameplay screenshot

Hints: Recycling and Green Technology

  • Landfill dumps are necessary but do not help the environment. Recycling greatly lessens the burden of waste on the environment.
  • Green sources of energy are typically very expensive or somewhat fickle (such as wind generators), but they are always worth the investment as long as you can afford them.
  • The only way to go 100% green in the game is to use recycling, public transportation, green energy and heavily regulated industrial districts.

Gameplay screenshot

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • Did you pass the scenario?
  • What was the hardest thing to solve?
  • What could you do differently in your daily life to prevent pollution?

Tasks after Playing

  • What are the types of urban pollution? Name at least four.
Show Notes

Air, water, soil, noise, radioactive, visual and thermal pollution.

  • Which pollution types did you face in the game?
Show Notes

Ground pollution, air pollution, water pollution and noise pollution.

  • Name some choices you can make to keep the pollution low.
Show Notes

For example, you can choose only renewable sources of energy, build lots of public transportation and use recycling centers instead of landfill sites.

Additional Tasks

  • Which are the renewable energy generators you can use in your city?
Show Notes

Wind turbine, hydro power plant, geothermal plant, solar power plant and wave power plant.

  • What does a carbon footprint mean?
Show Notes

The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.