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How To Build #1 - Cities - Planning & Setting Up

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AmericanBagel avatar AmericanBagel
Level 39 : Artisan Engineer

We have (almost) all built a city before, or have wanted to build one eventually. Cities seem to be a category that almost never loses its popularity. Cities are quite easy to build, all you need to do is build huge towers sticking up in the sky! Quite easy!


It actually takes quite a bit of planning to make decent cities.

So, let us get to the first step:

Planning & Design

Road planning is an optional but extremely recommended step in city building. The first and most important step in making a city. You must plan the roads and what buildings are built on these roads. You may do this by visualizing the roads with a block of your choice (try using black concrete).
Outline different lots with glass or some other block of your choice, and put a sign saying what you plan to build there.

An example:
An example of road planning

Try giving your roads a name!
Tips with naming roads:
A street is a wide street in a town or city, typically one lined with trees.
An avenue is a broad road in a town or city, typically having trees at regular intervals along its sides.
A boulevard is a wide street in a town or city, typically one lined with trees.

For more help with road design, visit this link, and also try googling around, it helps!

When planning, you may run out of ideas. If you do, keep notes (digital or physical) handy, because you may just have an idea any time of the day.

Now, you must understand the basic parts of cities:

  • Downtown

Downtown has stuff like the mall(s), the fair, big stores, etc.

  • Residential Neighborhoods

Residential neighborhoods make cities, well, cities. They have tons of houses for your civilians to live in!

  • Shopping Centers

What could your city's civilians do without shops‽ They need to buy food, clothes, and other goodies!

  • Outskirts

The outskirts of town may contain a prison, some dumpy and abandoned houses, or may just contain nothing but wildlife or desert. Otherwise, the outskirts usually contain the low-end houses.

  • (Optional) Forests, lakes, mountains, parks, etc.

Different parts of the city are richer than others. The center of town often has the most money, with skyscrapers, mansions, highrises, and that cool jazz. Some areas of town may be average with low-to-middle level housing, and some may be extremely broke (low-end housing), and some may be mansions for miles. The neighborhoods with high-end houses usually look pretty and well maintained, while the low-end housing may look dumpy or friendly. It's all apart of your city's background.

There are different types of structures, most of which are:

  • Low-End Houses (Small apartments, small houses, etc.)
  • Middle-End Houses (Average houses, spacious apartments with no cockroach or rat infestations, etc.)
  • High-End Houses (Mansions, billion-dollar apartments, you get it.)
  • Low-End Commercial Buildings (Maybe a creepy store, or an old motel)
  • Middle-End Commercial Buildings (Maybe a McDonald's, or the local grocery store)
  • High-End Commercial Buildings (Maybe a huge store, an IKEA, a luxury hotel, or something along the lines of $$$)
  • Federal Government Buildings (Google "federal agencies". Most of them won't be present in every city, but some are in every or almost every city. Do your research.)
  • Local Government Buildings (Police stations, fire stations, city hall, etc.)

Cities must have residential areas, commercial areas, and government buildings, otherwise, it's a weird city.
I have also constructed a list of buildings you need, and buildings you may want.

Here are some suggestions for buildings you may want in your city: 315 Things To Build In A Minecraft City (Creative)


If you are building a made-up city, you must make it have your own made-up history to go along with it. Choose what timeline it was originally built. Decide if, at one point, the entire town was ripped apart by a tornado, nuked by an atomic bomb (a little crazy there), burnt up by a fire, ravaged by a hurricane (or typhoon), drowned in a flood, or some other bits of history. If you don't want anything to have happened to your city, in the center of town or somewhere else, for that matter, make old-fashioned buildings. Try to have at least two different styles for your city if it's average unless it's named something like Modernia, Suburbia, ore (that spelling is intentional) something else.

If you are building a city based on a city in real life, dig into the city's history, go around it on Google Earth, or if you can travel to it (or live in it), take some pictures here and there and write down some notes. Learning as much as you can about the city will give you a lot of help with being extremely accurate.


Now that you've learned how to build a proper city, you must use that knowledge! You must build your plans and ideas into one massive city! Building it will be the biggest step of all, but it will pay off.

Building a city takes many things. I have selected the most important ones:

  • Patience: You must be ready to build for hours and hours.
  • Endurance For Pain From Clicking Forever: Gear up, you will need some serious endurance to withstand carpal tunnel.
  • Inspiration: You must have a reason to build it all. Whether it is to build your first Minecraft city, you dreamed of it, you want it to be at the top of Planet Minecraft's maps, or something else.
  • Dedication: You must be dedicated and must never give up.
  • Good Building Skills: You must be a decent builder.
  • Basic Intelligence: You must know how to add one and one together.
  • (Optional) A Building Team: You should try to get a building team, or just get a few friends to help you out a little bit. Trust me, it helps speed things up. Not only does it help speed things up, but some builders have specific styles which some people don't like, so a mix-up of different building styles and preferences makes the ultimate build!
If you get bored, take a little break, or whatever entertains you and refreshes you.


I am officially bored of typing this now. I might make a part two. Just depends.

Goodbye! Keep your dreams fresh and never give up!

Comment if you liked it or if you have some mean criticism.

Building a city is hard but achievable.

The second post of How To Build came out! It talks about useful programs for building. You can read it here.
CreditmattuFIN for thumbnail (taken from Mattupolis project)

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12/17/2020 8:24 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Artist
CASS Architecture Lab
CASS Architecture Lab avatar
Absolutely incredible. This holds so much of real-life architectural principles. I was actually reading an architecture chapter in my art history textbook just now! I swear, Minecraft architects are as good (or sometimes even better than) professional architects. I appreciate this a lot:)
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