Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction Writers => Writers' Corner => Topic started by: Neveesandeh on November 24, 2017, 06:15:11 PM

Title: Building a major city
Post by: Neveesandeh on November 24, 2017, 06:15:11 PM
My current work in progress is set in a group of islands mostly dominated by city states.The world is supposed to have a technological level of the 18th century, with some 19th century elements. There is a particular focus on one major city, with is the capital of the most powerful state. It is a port city, built around three natural harbours and close to a large river.

My question is, what exactly would a logical layout of this city be? I originally envisioned it as having factories and warehouses close to the docks, with the houses of richer and more influential citizens also close to this area and poorer areas towards the outskirts, but I don't know if this makes much sense.

Title: Re: Building a major city
Post by: Ray McCarthy on November 24, 2017, 08:04:00 PM
Factories might be on the rivers or estuaries (falling water and tidal water for driving the paddles for power).
Warehouses at the docks, though ones related to food or other inland resources near river mouth at harbour for barges.
Workers and shops between the factories annd warehouses.
Better off people with town houses on outskirts, well away from factories. Also likely to have country Estates that control the farms.

Based on my studies of 18th C UK and Ireland.

Industrialisation is from the 18th C. Some places outside cities not much changes from 1750s to 1920s
Many aspects of cities & ports don't change much from 1780s to 1860s
The Electrical Age starts 1800. Late Victorian era sees telephones, radio (telegraph, not voice), Electric street lights, typewriters, data sorting using punched cards invented to program looms in 18th C. Electric Telegraph 1830s, but continent wide optical telegraph (Clacks/Semaphore) in 18th C. Primitive fax from 1851. Mid 18th C. sees electric motors, lead acid batteries, submarines, torpedoes.
Steam engines from 17th C (pumps). Only used inshore and lakes on boats in early 19th C. Later 19th the efficiency is high enough to carry coal for ocean crossings.
Very rapid advances in machine tools etc in late 18th C.
Late 19th C saw Electric, Steam, diesel and petrol cars at the same time.
Title: Re: Building a major city
Post by: Neveesandeh on November 25, 2017, 09:54:15 AM
Thank you so much! This is really helpful! :)
Title: Re: Building a major city
Post by: Ray McCarthy on November 25, 2017, 11:32:22 AM
Tidal power isn't a new idea. There is an ancient pre 18th C. ruined lagoon and tidal mill near me, Clarecastle, Co. Clare, Ireland, on the tidal part of the Shannon Estuary.
Not all water wheels or "wind sails" (Windmills) were for milling, some for sawing, later hammering in a forge and much later weaving.
Article has errors. Ancient tide mills could be designed to work on ebb and flow, though usually using separate paddle wheels.

Some water wheels used the power to pump water out of a river for irrigation. The ancient hanging gardens of Babylon used "Archimedes screws" long before Archimedes "invented" them. Many things regarded as Greek actually came from Egypt or Babylonia.
The Ancient Romans got better helmets, big rectangular shields,  roads and chariots from European Celts and improved them. Their main inventions were better siege machines (Later torsion systems based on sinew springs. The onager was the main Roman invention in the field. They could fire a post through a stone wall). Concrete, building regulations (because there was no steel reinforcing so apartment blocks fell down) and bureaucracy (which allowed them to defeat the Celts in Europe AKA Gauls, Helvetia etc).

Steam power, of various kinds, is really really old. But water, wind, people and animal power made it uneconomic to develop till tin got scarcer and deeper in Cornwall in 17th C. Used to pump water. Tin from Cornwall and copper from Ireland was shipped as far as Middle East in prehistoric times. Some of the Bronze age Irish Celtic artefacts are from Roman and Greek gold and silver used to pay for the copper and tin (used to make bronze and brass).
Title: Re: Building a major city
Post by: Rostum on November 25, 2017, 12:53:30 PM
Windmills were originally used for pumping water around a 1000 years ago and some brights spark worked out you could grind grains as well a while after. Cities tend to develop with smelly industry downwind, castles and the posh houses and parklands  on the hills. If it is a walled city you can quarter it with your merchants and nobility in 2 quarters your industry inside the walls and workers in the quarters downwind of those. Your really smelly industry, tanning and dyeing are usually downwind and downstream of any water supply used by a city.
Title: Re: Building a major city
Post by: Ray McCarthy on November 25, 2017, 04:53:48 PM
Maybe 3700 years ago for water
Perhaps about 2000 to 1500 years ago for milling flour.
About 1000 years ago for milling in Northern Europe.

Smelly stuff:
Tanneries would be sited well away from anything else. Very smelly. Dye works and Laundry not so bad, but downstream of drinking water.
Laundries used urine for stubborn stains. Tanneries used animal dung, certain kinds are better.
Grain malting and Beer brewing would be in a separate area with clean water, though boiled. It's strong smells, though not unpleasant so would not be near rich people. 
Slaughter houses might be near river / docks / Tanneries. Smelly and unpleasant.

Central heating, and sewers might exist as might running water (See Ancient Roman: hypocausts, toilets, aqueducts and also ancient Minoan civilisations).
Title: Re: Building a major city
Post by: cupiscent on November 25, 2017, 09:25:49 PM
Perhaps read about the lowlands/Netherlands development for tidal mills / controlling. I recently read a book about the North Sea (this one, to be precise ( and there was a lot of interesting things about how much of modern urban development came out of the trading and farming in and around Belgium/Netherlands (and corresponding areas across the sea in England) and how much of that was about controlling the water.