In the attached diagram, the grid on the left side shows several layers from my world-building project. Each square represents a 4x4 sq km (2.5x2.5 sq miles) area.

  • Layer 1: Terrain, showing the river and water body at the top (Done)
  • Layer 2: Terrain, biome and altitude (cell colors) (Done)
  • Layer 3: City layer (red circle) (Done)
  • Layer 4: Resources layer (in progress)
  • Layer 5: Village (green circles)/Town (blue circle) (in progress)

The program lays out cities as close as 40 KM up to 100 KM apart giving a country ratio that based on Medieval Demographics Made Easy is on par with the calculated country population * .04 (4%). Each city in this world has a population between 8,000-15,000. The program also gives bonus population to cities on larger rivers, but this current design change is intended to add value to that bonus.

96% of the country population is dispersed into towns (1,000-8,000) and villages with a couple hundred people or smaller. This creates the population for the new layers.

The current development challenge is shown on the right side of the diagram. It lays out new data points and aspects that are not covered in the MDME document.

Food Channel - The farms are necessary to feed the generated cities (and smaller towns). Not enough farms, the towns and cities will not grow. Surplus creates opportunities for the cities to grow larger and increasing the population ratio.

Raw Goods Channel - The materials to build more than a village and create a larger economic structure in the cities.

Luxuries Channel - the value add components of existence are included here. Where these items are revealed on the layer dedicated to resources, opportunities to add them to the economics of the area are created.

Trade Channel - the city resides on a major river. It is also near the larger ocean body, so another method for supplying goods to the city is along this channel.

Taxes - presented in the diagram, but Government layer is not part of this question.

The goal in this process is that by adding the resource layer to the map, the program will be able to identify specific resources that are feeding the city. The quarry would get details that identify it as a source of fine marble... which could be consumed in the architecture of the city. The mine could be a source of wealth in the form of gold, silver or gems making the region a strong economic center for the government that controls this area. If the farms in the region produce more goods than the city consumes, it becomes an export/source for other areas in the world map.

Question: When examining the four channels, is there any other channel that could be added to the resource layer that would have contributions to the Economic potential of this area around the city? (or) Is there a better channel component that replaces one or more of the four?

Please limit your answers to economic components.

City Economic Elements

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ What is specifically medieval in this model? It certainly does not look much like any kind of medieval society. What is to be understood by "farms" in a medieval context? What kind of medieval is this supposed to be -- western European (early? high? late?), Italian, eastern European, Ottoman / Persian, Chinese? Why would a (western European) city extract taxes from the surrounding lands? That would be unusual, to say the least. (And there was no tobacco in the Eurasian medieval world, for the good reason that tobacco comes from America.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 3, 2020 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ I explained that. "my world-building project", i.e. not Earth. It is based on and expanding "Medieval Demographics Made Easy" document. And yes, it is generic and across a wide variety of potentially medieval economic possible inputs. I am looking for an input that doesn't fit in one of the ones I outlined, or one that works better than the ones I've outlined. As for medieval European extraction of taxes, feudal is the model under which this process occurs, not unusual at all. $\endgroup$
    – user72081
    Feb 3, 2020 at 1:04
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It is extremely unusual for a western European medieval city to extract taxes from the surrounding lands. I cannot even think of one single example. I don't fully understand what you believe is the link between feudal relations and taxes, or how could a city be part of the feudal hierarchy. (Hint: cities are not people, and feudal relationships were all about people.) (And if you don't mean medieval, then please oh please don't call it medieval. The Middle Ages were a historical period on Earth, not elsewhere, and the specific western European medieval world is a unique phenomenon.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 3, 2020 at 1:12
  • $\begingroup$ My first comment may have come off as snarky, and I apologize. You called this a "medieval" world. It is important to list what this world has in common with the medieval society. This will place constraints on the flow of goods and services through the channels. Does it have a dual pyramid of interpersonal relationships, secural and spiritual? Does it consist of numerous small almost autarkic economic units? Does it feature feudal land tenure? Tension between the feudal structure and the merchant class? The bulk of the economy structured around direct exchange of goods and services? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 3, 2020 at 1:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Relevant for the distribution and number of towns and villages: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_place_theory $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Feb 3, 2020 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


1) Government type: The political structure can have a severe impact in the economy, or lack of. This means presence of slaves, or selfdom.

2) Religious: Please don't forget religion! In medieval societies the church had a tremendous saying in what could or not be done, in which things could be crafted, and where to travel.

3) Culture: Hard to put in numbers, but certain cultures where more curious, and wanted to adopt particularities of others, while some stuck with their traditions and didn't let go. How much warring or trading a society was depended on this too.

4) Genes: Something simple as being able to metabolize milk had a profound impact in availability of food sources, and the type of them being grown.

  • $\begingroup$ There is a government/power center layer to this. Need to get a working economic model in place first before adding the "control" layer. Culture is a challenge. It operates similar in both the economic and control layers. Because there is also magic in this world, culture and magic may get their own layer. Genes may be accounted for in the control layer. A particular gene would behave in a similar fashion to that of a power center and would fall in that group. $\endgroup$
    – user72081
    Feb 3, 2020 at 22:04

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