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Cities of the Empire follow a naming convention, with a prefix indicating the size. Cities beginning with faa- are the largest cities, each a metropolis or large city, 80,000-100,000 in population. The next size cities, 50,000-80,000 citizens, start with affa-. Towns of 5,000-50,000 start with tif- and ita- is the prefix for little towns and villages.
Some cities begin within an isolated culture, and the Empire simply claimed them, either as part of their initial wave, or later, more insidiously by slowly buying up property or taking over culturally, over a few generations, if necessary. But most of the cities are planned, and built in otherwise undeveloped areas. Incentives such as permissive marriage and child licenses are used to help settle new cities. Guilds may also simply uproot their necessary employees and move them to new cities if they don't have enough volunteers.
Planned cities show it in every bone of their plat; streets are usually laid out in a perfect grid. Most natural topography is altered to suit, that which cannot be is worked around artfully, which sometimes puts parks or recreational areas in unexpected places.
Architecturally, they are capable of structures of great height - a dozen stories is not unusual for their central buildings. Four stories are ordinary for most personal housing, and it is common to have living quarters above shops and restaurants, even right in factories. Arches and concrete are common motifs. Large public staircases bridge changes in elevation Mozaics play a large role in south and coastal areas, to protect buildings from salt water corrosion. Local cultural styles may also play a role in the look of a city.
Very little housing is privately owned; most is the property of the Empire, rented through the Housing Guild to individuals in connection with their employment. Citizens are expected to live within easy commute of their occupation, and may be required to move if their job changes. Marriage licenses may require special considerations if two people have jobs in different areas, or may require one of them to retrain for new employment. Appropriate levels of shopping, food, and entertainment are all staged close by, carefully segregated by class.
Streets are designated for specific kinds of traffic - pedestrian, small animal, and powered (large animal and mechanical). Monitors manually control busy crossings, but walkways arching overhead are also common to prevent dangerous interactions.
Power factories in central places provide mechanical power and draw cablecars that connect the city grid, usually on overhead tracks. Other centralized services include water services, gas for lighting and heat, and sewer. Infrastructure is all carefully planned, and city size is determined when it is still an idea on paper, so few name changes are necessary. When building a new city, the Empire, through the guilds, moves in new citizens as needed, first to provide the building labor, then later to populate the city and provide its services.
Rail connects most major cities, and trade is brisk, if carefully monitored.
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