So here is my proposal for a fictional place I call Mozart city. As could probably be deduced from the name, Mozart and his family run the place.

Just to clarify this is in an alternate universe where the great composers are immortal

Mozart and his family

Leopold Mozart runs a bank. Franz Xavier Wolfgang Mozart is the substitute mayor. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has a lot of things he does. Here is a list of things he does:

  • Mayor

  • Piano teacher

  • Violin teacher

  • Horse riding teacher

  • Gives money to those wanting to start an account

  • Cheers up someone if he/she is really upset

  • Give directions to the other composers' places

That is a lot. I think that in order for Mozart to achieve all this every day, his home has to be in the same building as the mayor's office.

Size and layout

The city is 50 miles in radius. That is the average daily distance of Mozart's horse. Starting from the outside, it is mostly residential. Then in the middle, there are stores and restaurants. Grocery stores, knitting supply and pattern stores, music stores, bookstores, and restaurants make up the majority of this commercial sector. Then as you get closer to the center you have concert halls, homes of musicians, banks, a few factories(mostly for producing money that is circulated), a composer meeting hall, and then finally, smack dab in the center the mayor's office/Mozart's home.

I will draw a map of this city if you want me to. But it will take a while. But is a city like this plausible(circular shape I think would make it harder to design to be functional)?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ (a) 50 miles is the far outside limit of an average horse's range. It's very, very, very long. (b) If the radius is 50mi and the horse's range is 50mi then it takes Mozart 2 days for the round trip, is that what you were expecting? (c) While ideal cities are designed like that, real cities aren't. People don't like to drive (much less ride) massive distances just to shop. Shopping is usually within 5 miles of home. Entertainment within 15 (horses, right?). You'll have pockets of commercial all over the city. Maybe government in the middle. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 6:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Over 4 times the size of the Greater London area, you're looking at creating a city of around 40million people even if it's "low" density. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 7:47

3 Answers 3


Not really plausible.

You can have a 25 mile journey each way to get from the residential area to the shops. If you want to catch a concert, it's even further.

Everything is too far apart to be function without some sort of public transport. The poor don't have horses so how can they get to the shops?

You can't separate everything out into rings. Shopping areas and entertainment must be dispersed throughout residential and industrial areas because most people need to be able to get there and the majority of people need to walk.

If it's not walking distance, it's not viable.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't think @Caters has actually tried to draw it and compare it to a current cities. A 50 mile radius is 80km and the area of a 80km circle is 20106km^2 which is 25 times larger than New York City. With an average walking speed of 3.1 miles per hour your normal people will spend all their time walking to the shops and home to stay alive. Plus, if the horse can travel 50 miles a day, then you can go from the center to the outside ring, but you won't be able to get back to the center in a day, and that assumes a straight line distance which is probably wont be. Scale it down. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 6:31

The city is 50 miles in radius. That is the average daily distance of Mozart's horse.

Two points:

  1. A good horse can travel 40 miles per day. However, that's traveling. If Mozart is "managing by walking around", then he'll be frequently stopping to meet people, discuss civic business, etc. That means he wouldn't go nearly that far every day.
  2. The city of Houston -- a car-dependent city if there ever was one, with a population of 2,000,000 -- has (if you convert it's area to a circle) a radius of only 14 miles.

Thus, you've sized your city way too large.


Cities with circular layout have been attempted in the past, and soon the attempt was abandoned.

Look for example at Karlsruhe, in Germany. The story goes that Karl III, margrave of Baden-Durlach, during a nap dreamed of this city and the sun, and gave his architect the task of designing it.

The original layout was to have the castle in the center and then roads departing in all directions as light beams, to emulate the sun.

Karlsruhe map

Well, the idea was quickly abandoned in favor of the square-ish grid layout it has today.

Karlsruhe today

The castle park you see in the drawing is really a walking distance from side to side, 100 miles like in your case would add too much struggles to make the city "rational". Just to name one, once in a while you have to start a new road somewhere, to compensate for the increasing distances between two adjacent ones.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I beg to disagree here. On smaller scale, rectangular city layout is more practical. But as cities grow, they seem to adapt radial structure. Take a look at London, Paris, Moscow. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 7:30

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