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164 votes

What is the utilitarian purpose of artificial waterfalls?

Low-tech climate control: the waterfalls fill the air with spray, which evaporates off and cools the populace. The Romans used to achieve a similar effect with fountains.
Chronocidal's user avatar
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125 votes

What is the utilitarian purpose of artificial waterfalls?

Still water is heaven for proliferating algae, bacteria and annoying insects like mosquitoes. A large city with large bodies of still water is a recipe for plague spreading. Having water on the move ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
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114 votes
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In a medieval setting, how far apart should towns be?

Distances between Medieval towns varied quite widely, as did the population and size. I think the estimate, and this is a low estimate, for England was that there were over 3,000 deserted Medieval ...
Erin Thursby's user avatar
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105 votes

What circumstances could lead to city layout based on hexagons?

Optimal public transport accessibility for a zero-car city. A city designed from the ground up should be designed so that cars are unneeded: 90% of your reasons to leave the home are serviced within ...
Ash's user avatar
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77 votes

Random body shuffle every night—can we still function?

Society as we know it certainly could NOT function if this were the case. A couple of issues that immediately occurred to me, even more fundamental than retention of property (and retention of ...
Jedediah's user avatar
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77 votes
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How to hide an urban landmark?

During WWII the city of Alexandria, in Egypt, was under menace of being bombed by the German bombers. Since it was known that the bombing would have taken place overnight, it was decided to build in ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
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74 votes
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What makes trading cities rich?

The short answer is trade. The larger answer is that the act of trading develops and requires a range of secondary and tertiary activities which are themselves economically significant. Consider, ...
Thucydides's user avatar
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73 votes
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A way of getting the water to the top of the tall building without electricity?

In order to get water up to the top of a building, you can either carry it manually, or you can pump it. Pumps don't have to run on electricity. Wind-powered pumps use a windmill to power the pump, ...
AJMansfield's user avatar
  • 1,954
73 votes

How big can a town get before everyone stops knowing everyone else?

The number you are looking for is not Dunbar's Number Dunbar's number is about how many relationships you can maintain, but does not directly dictate the "sense" of knowing everyone. ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
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70 votes

What is the utilitarian purpose of artificial waterfalls?

Energy storage. You use a form of energy generation with unreliable or periodic output. As a form of energy storage you pump water up into a nice big reservoir when you have surplus, then power ...
Joe Bloggs's user avatar
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66 votes

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

Rock and clay don't burn well, leaving you with a lot of dressed stone lying around to say there was once a city here. Fire from above implies volcanoes, as we learned from Pompeii, that's actually a ...
Separatrix's user avatar
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66 votes

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

I'd advise against this approach. Your character has very low chance of success. When a dogma is central to a person's religious identity, it will be believed until there is some direct personal ...
Ville Niemi's user avatar
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62 votes
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How big can a town get before everyone stops knowing everyone else?

The number you are looking for is Dunbar's Number. It is well-known for most primates, but only approximately for humans (between 150 and 250). Humans of course have prodigious memory, and might be ...
John O's user avatar
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61 votes
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Is roof-hopping through a city realistic?

It’s not possible to the extent you’re hoping for. Most modern urban areas have a fairly consistent pattern in which buildings are broken up into blocks of various dimensions and separated by roads. ...
Avernium's user avatar
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60 votes
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How can a barren island state comprised of morons maintain positive GDP for decades?

not going into the discussion on "does IQ really measure intelligence or not?" Putting in practice the word of Koalemos is deemed the highest honor in their society, therefore those with the ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 289k
59 votes

What is the utilitarian purpose of artificial waterfalls?

You're looking at it backwards. Nobody added artificial waterways to a city. They did what they had to do to support building a city on top of existing waterways. Human settlements naturally spring ...
bta's user avatar
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57 votes
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Why would a modern city with a warm climate have a skyway system?

Reasons: Skyways can be airconditioned and so cooler Skyways can be sheltered from rain and so more pleasant Skyways are safer than walking on the streets, where the cars are; separation of cars and ...
Mary's user avatar
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55 votes
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Why would a flourishing city need so many outdated robots?

Why is banking and other critical systems in 2020 still running COBOL software from the 1970s? Once you build a system, get it working and stable, why on Earth would you go through that work again? ...
Ash's user avatar
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54 votes

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

The oldest pump in historical records is the force pump. The book that first describes it was written between 15 and 30 B.C/B.C.E. This is the Archimedes's screw, which is one of my favorite ancient ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
54 votes

Random body shuffle every night—can we still function?

I actually think large cities could function but they would be very different to ours. Your house would be near a cluster of sleeping rooms and would have a password entry since keys are not going ...
Eric's user avatar
  • 1,650
53 votes

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

How about a catastrophic flood? Have the city built on a large river. A landslide further up blocks the river and causes an enormous lake to form (also cutting off water supply to the city causing ...
Tim B's user avatar
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50 votes
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Can we get rid of all illnesses by a year of Total Extreme Quarantine?

Only for SOME types of illnesses. Even then there are problems. Some illnesses are not infectious. That means quarantine does nothing to slow them down. (a) Genetic illnesses. For example autoimmune ...
Daron's user avatar
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49 votes

How can you build cities without cement?

I would actually use... cement, because your premise is wrong: On lifeless planets there is no organic materials such as limestone because there was never any life. Limestone is not an organic ...
IvanSanchez's user avatar
  • 1,253
49 votes

How can I prevent the invention of skyscrapers?

Restriction for religious and political reasons No building should be higher than the local religious, historical, political or symbolic buildings. Such restrictions existed in the past, be it for ...
Kepotx's user avatar
  • 6,748
48 votes

Is a small indoor city realistic?

Yes. Modern aircraft carriers have crews of around 5,000. It's even easier if you're supporting one fifth that many people and don't have to worry about making your building float or move at 35mph. ...
sphennings's user avatar
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47 votes
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Why do people continue to live in an unfavorable location when there are significantly greener pastures?

There are a number of basic reasons the (vast) majority of people would choose to stay. There are a couple of other "flavor" reasons that you could optionally add to change "majority" to "practically ...
Beofett's user avatar
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46 votes

How can you build cities without cement?

During the roman empire they didn't know modern cement, but they built "small thingy" like the Pantheon by using pozzolan, which is basically volcanic ash. That would be a good material to use.
L.Dutch's user avatar
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46 votes
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How to completely destroy a city, without leaving clues for humanity 4,000 years later?

I have much academic experience with some of this, especially the second part of your question. I'll address a few different sides of things. The most drastic way I can think of that could ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 2,336
45 votes

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

Zero seconds. Sorry :) The problem is the word "All" in your question. You can cut the power, cut the phone lines, cut the fibre. Some people on the town are still going to have satellite uplinks ...
Tim B's user avatar
  • 77.1k
44 votes

How long would it take to dismantle a city by hand?

Reinforced concrete! Let's just consider one aspect of what they have to remove - reinforced concrete. Recently the block I live in was fitted with a sprinkler system. This involved cutting 2" ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar

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