Questions tagged [cities]

For questions about cities, their systems and evolution.

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105
votes
11answers
30k views

In a medieval setting, how far apart should towns be?

This is a medieval European (fantasy) setting, with the following (highly tentative) parameters: Each town is vaguely autonomous, and have their own municipal government system. Towns do trade with ...
78
votes
17answers
6k views

Random body shuffle every night—can we still function?

Imagine a world where every time you wake up you wake up in a randomly selected body from among the bodies that were asleep at that time. There are some limits—the body should be in at most a roughly ...
66
votes
20answers
10k views

How do I drug a population in the most efficient way?

I want a whole city to be on drugs secretly, so they don´t know they are drugged by their government. The city is about 2 billion people and roughly structured like a Makropole from the Warhammer ...
61
votes
18answers
9k views

A city to last ten million years: Construction

In the future, a high-tech human civilization has colonised a distant planet. The planet is basically Earthlike in gravity, climate, terrain and vegetation. They want to build Forevertown: A city with ...
54
votes
11answers
13k views

Is roof-hopping through a city realistic?

A common trope across multiple mediums and genres is roofhopping (WARNING! Tv Tropes), where individuals are seen rapidly running and jumping between buildings as a form of travel. For the setting, ...
50
votes
32answers
19k views

How to completely destroy a city, without leaving clues for humanity 4,000 years later?

Background I want to burn down a city completely. Nothing must remain, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Even though I'm a supernatural being, I want this to happen in a natural way. I also want the ...
50
votes
9answers
6k views

What would the fortifications of an underwater city look like?

Merpeople, along with other similar underwater humanoids, are often depicted as living in great cities beneath the waves. These cities have many positive things going for them: plenty of real-estate, ...
43
votes
7answers
9k views

What software is available for map creation?

I'm looking for recommendations for software to build my world, physically. I want to be able to create maps of the entire world and then drill down to individual areas and define the towns and ...
41
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you simulate the organic growth of a city when designing it?

Most cities don't just spring into existence, they aren't planned to be the way they are (there are a few exceptions, see Milton Keynes in England for example) but grow organically over time. However ...
40
votes
17answers
12k views

Why do people continue to live in an unfavorable location when there are significantly greener pastures?

Backstory and Setting I'm forging a story that starts with our protagonists living in an absolutely awful urban location. Think near-post industrial revolution, without the regulations that ...
40
votes
10answers
8k views

What effects would a change in the nature of human sexuality have on society and infrastructure

Consider a group of humans at a bronze-age to early iron-age technological level colonizing a new earthlike planet. There is just one difference - there exists on the planet something which changes ...
40
votes
9answers
7k views

What happens to an empty, modern city?

Suppose you have a modern city in a temperate climate zone that empties. No people, or hardly anyone left, certainly not enough to keep all the infrastructure going. Our city is not Rotterdam (below ...
39
votes
30answers
15k views

A way of getting the water to the top of the tall building without electricity?

First, let me explain the situation. Post-apocalypse setting, a group of humans (let's say around a hundred of them) have to find safe places to live at, protected from animals, bandits, and other ...
39
votes
5answers
5k views

How would an avian city be different from ours?

Imagine a city where the primary population is an avian race. Well assume for the sake of argument that these birdlike creatures have "hands" as well as wings which allows them to develop and use at ...
36
votes
15answers
11k views

What methods might an ancient civilization use to desalinate sea water?

Following on from my previous question here concerning the ancient civilization I have called the Androy and their struggle to survive terrible drought conditions on their planet. After years of ...
36
votes
12answers
11k views

What makes trading cities rich?

(We're talking about a pre-industrial society here) Obviously there are many cities in important positions for trade, either because they control an important strait (Danish Sound, Bosphorus), an ...
35
votes
8answers
6k views

Is a small indoor city realistic?

I'm taking about a gigantic building that serves all the needs of small city, about a thousand inhabitants. People must be able to work, sleep, eat, play, and go to school all with out leaving the ...
34
votes
21answers
8k views

How would cities be designed that were threatened by dragons?

The dragons aren't all that common but they live in the nearby mountains and after a harsh winter are more likely to come looking for easy prey to fatten back up on. What are the major design ...
33
votes
6answers
3k views

How would a city styled like Venice be built with lava instead of water?

Imagine a Venice like city, but instead of water, it had lava/magma flowing through it. Would this be possible? Materials? Society changes?
33
votes
13answers
6k views

Is it reasonable to have a town that is only accessible by sea?

Let's say that in a medieval world, a town has been built on the coast, the location chosen as it has ideal conditions for a port town (natural harbor, lots of nearby resources etc.). It is a good ...
33
votes
13answers
4k views

How can I ensure my cities don't all look the same?

I'm trying to create more opportunities for roleplay in a setting where most civilized cities are along the coastline of a "new world." Most cities are fortress cities on the frontier that serves to ...
32
votes
14answers
6k views

Just how unrealistic is a hovering city?

In my last question, we had some disagreement in the comments about the reality of a hovering city. However, that question wasn't about that. This one is. My civilization are building a giant ...
32
votes
7answers
4k views

What's the most logical shape for my city in space (space station)?

Science fiction shows us two common shapes for large space stations, rings and tubes: Deep Space 9 (image source): Similarly, 2001: A Space Odyssey (image source). On the other hand, we have ...
31
votes
6answers
3k views

On the immediate effects of a small, short term black hole

What immediate effects would a small, short-term black hole have if it appeared in a residential backyard? How small or short-lived would it have to be to be survivable, if it is survivable at all? ...
31
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I create a map of an underground city?

This question is, like How long will it take to form a new dialect and language in underground steampunk London?, part of an experiment I'm conducting on Worldbuilding. I'm temporarily switching gears ...
31
votes
9answers
3k views

What should I consider in a society with basic unconditional income?

I'm creating a city of about 200 000 people in a nation equivalent to a modern western nation, like Germany, France or the United States. Strong economy and a calm society, but still a conspicuous ...
30
votes
8answers
7k views

What is a city like after a hundred years or so of neglect?

I have a post-apocalyptic setting where the vast majority of humanity died off a few generations ago and the remnants were rounded up and placed on the island of Oahu, which has been made into a ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

When my city is miles high, where do the utility lines go?

Various futuristic novels and movies have posited the existence of the mega-city; a city in the clouds built up hundreds if not thousands of meters above the surface area below. Examples are Coruscant ...
29
votes
5answers
1k views

Deriving price from a framework of production in a medieval economy (ie “Can I have a 1,500 gold meat pie, please!”)

It bothers me in games when the price of something is seemingly arbitrarily set. Shop owner: How much gold do you have? Player: Er, 10,000? Shop owner: Then that meat pie is 1,500 gold, ...
28
votes
4answers
12k views

How long would it take for a forest ecosystem to overtake New York City?

Deer bound across broken pavement, eating from bushes growing were there were once cars beneath trees where there were once light posts. Busses have been replaced by bears, rumbling slowly down ...
27
votes
19answers
9k views

How can you build cities without cement?

Modern cities are built from concrete with steel rebar because it is abundantly available and provides enough tensile strength. Concrete requires cement. Cement is made from limestone. Limestone is ...
27
votes
15answers
5k views

Any reasons for a primal aquatic race to build land-based villages?

Imagine a sentient species with these attributes: not very advanced (think primal tribes) can breathe underwater good swimmers feed on seafood (fish, algae) live in a high fantasy world with orcs/...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

What adaptations would be made to a town to make it more merfolk friendly?

In my world I have a town seaside where merfolk and humans work side by side. I'm very keen to see actual interaction, not just humans on the land and fish in the sea. I want the merfolk to feel at ...
25
votes
11answers
5k views

How to convince primitive tribe that cities weren’t built by gods?

So, in this story, my main character and his friends go to the ruins of an old city from the pre-apocalypse years. He needs to go there to retrieve a valuable artifact, but the local tribe that ...
24
votes
11answers
6k views

How to build a city surrounded by giant spiders?

Tech level? Medieval. Magic? Yep. More specifically: using levitation. Forests surround my town, which is built in a wild forest on a river trade route to protect merchants. How would I build my ...
24
votes
26answers
8k views

Why would the whole of mankind live in a single, gigantic city? [closed]

Most of Earth's surface is wild, with a population density equal to zero. There is only one place on Earth where human beings live. It is a gargantuan city, spreading across thousands of square ...
24
votes
9answers
28k views

Designing a map for a fictional city

I am in the process of beginning to write a fictional book. The book will be set on present day Earth however I want there to be a fictional city. In my head, I have decided the name, that there ...
24
votes
9answers
5k views

Conditions for a city on a mountain

Cities usually emerge at places where transportation is easy (on a plain, near a sea or a river, etc.) so that people can come and go (facilitating trade) and water and food can be brought to the city....
24
votes
7answers
3k views

What's the biggest medieval city I can make?

What's the biggest medieval city, in terms of population, that we can feasibly make? That is, take all factors that affect population, and tilt them all in favour of a large population, without ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

What considerations does a city built on an oceanic platform have to make?

In a world without enough land for a massive (and growing) population, but plenty of water surface, experimental cities have started to spring up along the edges of various continents. The first is a ...
23
votes
25answers
5k views

What would cause a bustling port city to become empty?

There's a city that sits on a river, the intersections of several well-traveled roads, and a large rail line (back when that was worth something; the city is kind of a blend of the early 1900's). It's ...
23
votes
18answers
5k views

Possible Mage Jobs in an Urban Fantasy

I am trying to create "job" for a very small, specific sect of people. These people's bodies naturally generate and store an energy capable of creating temporal and physical discontinuities. Basically,...
23
votes
11answers
5k views

Building a city on top of, alongside and inside a coastal cliff

The capital of the society my story revolves around is built on top of a cliff, similar to the White Cliffs of Dover (pictured below for reference). For story reasons, they settled in this location ...
23
votes
10answers
6k views

What factors determine how tall the buildings in a city will be?

What are the conditions that determine the types of buildings that will be dominant in a city (e.g. skyscrapers, several-story buildings, houses, etc.)? I guess these conditions include history (how ...
22
votes
21answers
11k views

How long can my small American city be without Internet access? [closed]

Let us say that I want a somewhat isolated farming city to lose Internet access for an extended period of time. The requirement is that all Internet access into the town have been cut off by some ...
22
votes
14answers
7k views

How to sustain/create a 4 foot tall city?

For my story, I intend to include a city/civilization that is entirely 4 foot tall- with plants, greenery, walkways etc. on top of the connected 'houses'. This city is located in the middle of a ...
22
votes
11answers
3k views

How would a town powered mainly by water work?

I have a town that I'm designing (in a D&D campaign, think Neverwinter in terms of technology) that I want to be a town on a river/lake/ocean/whatever. I would like for this town to be unique from ...
21
votes
12answers
4k views

Ways to hide an elven city

How could a large (10,000-20,000 people) elven city hide itself from a person wandering through? These elves can bend plants to their will and stimulate plant growth by singing, so they could live in ...
21
votes
13answers
6k views

Vertical City - Why build it?

Picture, in a near future, that we build cities vertically rather than horizontally. Need a new city block? Add another few floors. Disregard for the moment any physical construction problems this may ...