Worldbuilding: Cities and Towns

Creating a city itself is daunting because it’s where civilization and worldbuilding meet. Whether this is a sprawling metropolitan capital or a tiny village, there’s a certain amount of planning that goes into every city.

With cities and towns, size really does matter. More specifically, population size matters. The more people in an area, the higher the demand for resources. As population size increases, so do new demands. A tiny village won’t need as much in the way of wide, four-lane roads as a bustling city will. Conversely however, a tiny village may not need as many items imported from outside because there won’t be a great demand for it. Knowing your population size means you can predict what sort of added resources and services the city will need.

Services include things like sewer, trash, public parks, street and road maintenance and in some cases, libraries and schools. There’s also some bleed here between public services and law enforcment. The larger the population, the greater the need for police officers, social workers and even groundskeepers to maintain parks. Along with the additional services, there’s an increased strain on infrastructure, meaning roads, bridges, dams and other large-scale constructions need more maintenance and inspections.

While we’re discussing services: also consider the areas companies might service in a city. Most notably, utility services are often given a geographic monopoly because of the pipes and wiring thaty need to be laid for them to supply homes with water, electrcity or sewer. In massive cities where there may be more than one zipcode, delivery services may pick and choose the areas they work in.

When building a city, it also helps to keep in mind how it forms. Cities that grow slowly from village to town to city may feel somewhat disorganized in their layout and feature narrower streets. This is often because the intial layout is set down when the population is much smaller and as a result, as smaller needs. As small cities grow into large ones, the roads loop back and are added onto each other, resulting in the twisting disorganization.  More modern cities may feature straighter roads and a grid-like layout. That same orderly layout also applies to areas that are demolished and rebuilt.



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