View Full Version : What makes a town?

10-04-2009, 01:10 PM
So, I'm putting the finishing touches on my fantasy world, and feel there are still some issues I need to hammer out. Such as urbanization.

I mean, in a low-tech world, what causes people to gather together into villages rather than live on isolated homesteads?
Now, granted in my world there is a significant danger of monster attacks, so people prefer to huddle together for safety behind a palisade, with farmlands stretching out all around the town. But I feel I should also include some real-life reasons, so what is needed for a village/town/city to rise and function, on a tech-level similar to circa 1100 AD

And no, I'm not going to go into agonizing detail. I just want to portray the society as something that works, logically.

10-04-2009, 01:32 PM
You've probably thought of these already:

Desirable physical resources (e.g. water, a river).
Growing families create a cluster of homes, which expands.
Trades center (blacksmith and similar go-to services), not everyone is a farmer.
Handy proximity to bigger town (without big-town costs).


10-04-2009, 02:29 PM
What he said.
Market - somewhere to sell your produce and buy what you need
Transport links - a river crossing or the junction of two roads.
A temple/church/religious centre
A natural resource to exploit/mine/quarry

Smiling Ted
10-04-2009, 05:08 PM
You probably want to read this Wikipedia entry. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urbanization#Causes)

10-04-2009, 05:13 PM
in a low-tech world, what causes people to gather together into villages rather than live on isolated homesteads?

1. Defense
1. That's where the well is
2. Sharing of labor
3. Most people are pack animals

Kathie Freeman
10-04-2009, 07:36 PM
Socialization, need for human companionship.

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-04-2009, 11:13 PM
Sharing tools. Many villages shared the plows and plow animals.

10-05-2009, 08:39 PM
1) Protection a walled town or fort of some kind.

2) Economics a center for trade because of geographical advantages like being in the center of a group of smaller towns or on a trade route.

10-05-2009, 10:19 PM
- Centralization of craftsmen and artisens (smiths, tanners, glassblowers, etc.)
- Located on trade route
- Centralization of localized government (it's a lot easier to inform a town of new laws, etc. than going to individual farms)
- Protection