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Please understand: This isn't a completely serious question. It's more just meant to have fun with, but to still learn something in the process.

So in light of the first chapter of the Final Fantasy VII remake, I want to ask about the practicality/usefulness/sense in making a city like Midgar. (I know it's likely not very viable, but let's look for a more detailed and evidence-backed answer, and this question is kind of just meant for fun anyway.)

For the purposes of this question, I am not talking about the Mako reactors or anything strictly fantasitical like that. In particular, what I am referring to is mainly the idea of having a two-story city, with an enormous plate being held hundreds of meters above the ground, where many of the people actually live, with the city's slums or whatever being concentrated on the actual earthen ground, directly underneath the plate.

From an engineering perspective, I'd imagine putting that thing together being about on the level of sending someone to the moon in the 60's. And it's not just difficult; it's dangerous and costly. What if the upper plate deteriorates over time? And sure, you can get the money to put a city like that together, but what parts of your economy and government spending are going to suffer as a result?

But while there are certainly difficulties and disadvantages in producing a city like Midgar, there could still be reasons to do so anyway. It does help save on the amount of actual land being used, and in this way, it's similar to how cities like Tokyo and Sapporo, in real life, rely heavily on life underground. People in these cities go underground not only to catch trains, but also to visit the post office, eat out at a restaurant, go shopping recreationally, and so on. They spend a lot of time there, and while underground structures are expensive, it does help to save on land.

(Note that Sapporo is surrounded by countryside and bush, but they do this anyway, partially because of the cold, and partially because it helps keep everything close together. While Midgar on FFVII is similarly surrounded by open terrain, having the plate above and the other part of the city down below would likewise allow people to get to things without travelling long distances.)

In addition, a government that does this successfully would wow its people. Such a city as Midgar could be used to assert a government's power and authority, and it could be a major propaganda icon.

And there are other advantages as well, but again, that would be a MASSIVE and dangerous undertaking.

So in light of FFVII's remake episodically getting phased onto the shelves, I want to ask: To what extent would it make sense to create a city like Midgar? What would be the key factors a government would likely use in determining whether to do so? Would the city need to take a slightly different form to be viable?

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    $\begingroup$ I doubt this is on-topic for a few reasons. Firstly it's too broad (what is now termed not focused enough). Secondly it's opinion based - for every answer saying "yes, it makes sense" there would be another saying the opposite. Thirdly, it's really a discussion question which is not what SE sites handle - we need well focused questions which can produce reasonably well defined answer with identifiable standards for "good answer" and "bad answer". $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2020 at 6:07
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    $\begingroup$ An advanced enough civilisation could technically build a ring world with a radius of several light years. Even from a K2 civilisations perspective your construction project is rather trivial. Any question like "Is it possible to build x" can be answered by "sure, with enough resources and as long as it doesn't violate the laws of physics". What you should be asking yourself is "Why not do or build x if it is a minor budgetary point in our civilisations spending?" The only question is when does it become feasible? $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2020 at 6:26
  • $\begingroup$ I guess I'm thinking in terms of a civilization that is within roughly 100 years of our technological level. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2020 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Also see my answer ot this question worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/152274/… $\endgroup$ Commented May 9, 2020 at 1:52

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It already exists to a certain extent. It's only worth doing it on location where the land value is really high (downtown business districts of major cities)

For ex: the business district "La Defense" in Paris is built on a 60,000m2 concrete slab elevated above ground. The ground level is mostly used for cars and parking spots, the underground is for subway and the above ground is for pedestrians.

This business district was built from a (more or less) blank sheet when Paris decided to build a proper downtown after WWII. The Parisians didn't want a downtown district in the city to preserve the architecture so they build "La Defense" just at the outskirt of Paris on the west side (the wealthy side)

https://www.360-agence.com/product-page/valorisation-des-volumes-r%C3%A9siduels-de-la-d%C3%A9fense

It s called "urbanisme sur dalle" in French which roughly means "slab urbanism".

The slab town planning is the total separation of the pedestrian paths and the car traffic. It is a “bursting” of the street in several levels according to its useful function: either dynamic link between parties to be joined, or quasi static strolling area. We create an "artificial" soil. We establish the use of two or three distinct levels. In general, the underground level or levels for public transport, traditionally buried metropolitan railways to which one can add buses and taxis, and add supplies to stores. Level 0 (natural soil) is given to passenger cars. The slab is reserved for pedestrian residents. The architecture of the buildings that make up the slab architecture is not structurally linked to this urban planning. They have a global form, a “épannelage”, which does not distinguish them from buildings of other urban formulations.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urbanisme_sur_dalle

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting answer! I guess Midgar then would be like a mixture of La Defense and the Tower of Dubai. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2020 at 21:58

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