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8/4/2016: Thoughts On the Size of Cities

· 2 min read
Patrick Pace

I started developing a city that began as something like Mos Eisely and ended up a sister city of the telan capital, Im. Since my characters entered the city by walking, this brought to mind just how far they had to walk between being “out” of the city and “in.” If I were walking into Houston, this would take days. If Dallas, less, but still a while. And in both cases, the line between “in” and “out” is quite blurry.

I just ran across a blog that says that Constantinople had 500,000 people in it during its height. I wonder what Rome had. Or Athens.

Something else also came to mind. To some degree, it seems like a city’s grandeur, it’s size and fortifiable-ness, would scale with its number of persons. For whatever reason, this seems even more true for ancient cities, but you can see this for many cities today as well. Small cities tend to be, well, small.

But in a time where technology makes things easier, it seems like grandeur can be accomplished by a relative few. But if that’s the case, then it also seems that if this model holds, the grandeur that can be accomplished by many would be ever so much greater. It’s more a matter of what 21st century audiences perceive as grand, I suppose.

Furthermore, it seems to reason that unless a city hides behind walls, like Jericho or one of the castles in old England, that the bigger the city, the wider the city’s outskirts. This seems like an exponential thing.

Even in a case like Manhattan, which grows up and not out, they still live behind the wall of the water, and the surrounding areas are still urbanized. One does not simply walk into Manhattan.

A city can have non-residents forced to sell their wares and to camp outside its gates.