This worksheet contains 3 pages of questions to help with worldbuilding cities.
I’ve always been fascinated by the way cities develop; how they evolve defences, infrastructure, boundaries, and districts. Where they’re built, what they’re built on, why they’re built where they’re built, who they’re built by… All these questions seem ripe for creating mystery.
Some cities are characters in themselves: Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings, Gotham in the Batman series, and the amazing traction cities of the Mortal Engines series are a few that occur to me.
Of course, there is only a thin line between worldbuilding cities and worldbuilding other forms of settlements such as towns, fortresses, and city states, so the worksheet can be used to develop these also.
I’ve tried to keep the questions general, and not make assumptions about genre, era, or race.
I hope this worksheet sparks some great ideas!
Worldbuilding Cities – 50 Questions
- WHAT IS THE CITY’S NAME?
- WHAT DEFINES THE SETTLEMENT AS A CITY?
- WHO LIVES HERE AND WHAT ARE THEY CALLED?
- WHY DO THEY LIVE HERE?
- WHAT DO THE INHABITANTS DO?
- WHAT ARE THE CITYʼS RESOURCES?
- WHAT RESOURCES NEED TO BE IMPORTED?
- WHAT IS THE MAIN SOURCE OF INCOME?
- WHERE IS THE CITY?
- WHO ARE ITS CLOSEST NEIGHBOURS?
- WHY WAS THE CITY BUILT HERE?
- HOW LARGE IS THE CITY?
- WHAT DO THE DWELLINGS LOOK LIKE?
- WHY DO THEY LOOK THE WAY THEY DO?
- ARE THERE THREATS TO THE CITY?
- IF YES, HOW HAS THE CITY ADAPTED?
- WHAT IS THE PREVALENT ARCHITECTURAL STYLE?
- WHO ARE THE CITY LEADERS?
- WHO ARE THE OUTSIDERS?
- WHERE DO THEY LIVE?
- IS THERE CRIME?
- IF YES, WHAT DO THE CRIMINALS WANT?
- IS THERE A LARGE RICH-POOR GAP?
- HOW ARE THE THOROUGHFARES ARRANGED?
- WHERE DO THE INHABITANTS WORK?
- WHAT ARE THE MODES OF TRAVEL?
- HOW HAS TRANSPORTATION SHAPED THE CITY?
- IS IT EASY TO LEAVE & RE-ENTER THE CITY?
- ARE THERE MANY FOREIGNERS?
- HOW ARE RELIGIONS AND RITES ACCOMMODATED?
- WHAT ARE THE MAIN DISTRICTS?
- WHAT OTHER FACTORS MIGHT HAVE AFFECTED THE CITYʼS DEVELOPMENT?
- WHAT ARE ITS LANDMARKS?
- WHAT IS THE AIR LIKE?
- DOES THE CITY CREATE ITS OWN MICROCLIMATE?
- HOW IS THE CITY REGARDED BY ITS INHABITANTS?
- HOW IS THE CITY REGARDED BY OUTSIDERS?
- HOW OLD IS THE CITY?
- HAVE PARTS BEEN REDEVELOPED?
- HAS THE CITY BEEN PLANNED?
- HOW ARE RESOURCES DISTRIBUTED?
- HOW ARE DWELLINGS LAID OUT?
- WHAT MATERIALS ARE USED IN CONSTRUCTION?
- WHAT FLORA AND FAUNA LIVE IN THE CITY?
- WHAT IS CHARACTERISTIC OF THE CITIZENS?
- HOW DOES THE CITY REFLECT THE TASTES OF ITS INHABITANTS?
- IS THE CITY FAMOUS FOR ANYTHING?
- WHAT IS THE CITYʼS EMBLEM / MASCOT / COAT OF ARMS?
- WHAT LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN?
- DO THE CITIZENS HAVE A DISTINCT DIALECT / ACCENT?