What was it like to plan a cityWriting exists in conversation with other writing, which is why it is important to read.
This practice is called literacy. And as Harold Bloom suggests, “we read frequently, if not
unknowingly, in search of a mind more original than our own.” Thus, it is important to
read things that may be just a little too difficult, because it means that one seeks the
mind that is exploring spaces not familiar to the reader.
What this can also mean is that one should look to the writings that one reads and be
able to approach the text in a few different ways. In order to produce research, complete
the following:

I. Think about your city by answering the following bolded questions; some
context has been provided to guide your answers. (adapted from wikihow: “Make
your own fantasy world”)
1) Who lives in your city? Decide what the inhabitants of your city are like.
Start by imagining what basic kind of world you are envisioning, and what
their lives must be like. This will help you shape the “feeling” of your city.
Knowing that, you can start describing your inhabitants. Create them, write
their histories, cultures, ways of living, weapons, food, education,
governments, transport, anything. Are there multiple kinds of sentient being,
like fishlizards and sentient octopeds wandering around? What conflicts occur
between different living creatures? Define the extent of the culture. It can be a
single dominant culture, like the Death Star, or it can be a number of different
cultures, with different customs, like Los Angeles.
2) What is the name of your city? You can change it later, if you like, but it's
good to start somewhere. One way to do it is to use an existing name as a
basis. For example, Lilitopia has a nice sound to it, especially if it's a city
where everything is small, like in Gulliver’s Travels. Zachtopia, maybe not so
much! But if you dropped the “…topia” bit, and called it “Zakchan,” or even
just “Zakh,” you have a good start.

3) What is the land your city is on like? Terraform your city. Decide what
the landscape of your city is like. Consider what the topography, geography,
and climate are like. Think about how much of the world is covered in the
various environments. For example, your city could be in a desert, an ice floe,
or a forest. Or it could be more temperate, like our city, but with different
creatures and plants. Create the wildlife of your city. You can use a lot of
wildlife from Earth, but if you're feeling adventurous, make them all up! Are
they vertabrates (have a spine)? Invertabrates (don't have a spine)? Teeth,
fangs, claws, scales, fur, wings, eyes, limbs and slime are some of the many
things you can stick on them. Building the ecosystem (what eats what, what's
the top predator, how everything lives together) is a good way to learn more
about the world you're creating. Where in your world do all these creatures
live? They can live in the sky, or under the lava beds. Maybe they're ice worms
that burrow through solid methane, or energy beings that can be both solid
and light at the same time.
4) What is the history of your city? Once you start getting an idea who your
inhabitants are, and what they do, it's time to give them a past. Describe how
they evolved from another life form, or were part of a galactic experiment.
What major events have changed the course of the city? Are there gods and/or
goddesses, has evolution shaped things, or is it a combination of the two?
Describe what your city’s cultures have done during their history. Have there
been wars (civil, international)? Strife? Anarchies? Rebellions? Have they
actually been quite peaceful?
5) What belief systems are in place in your city? This is often a touchy
topic for those who are incredibly faithful to their real-world religion. Just
remember that you still believe in your deity, and that you are not transferring
your faith in any way. Just like writing a murder mystery doesn't turn you into
a murderer, so will writing about other gods not turn you into a heathen. Is
the dominant religion polytheistic (many gods), monotheistic (one god),
pantheistic (everything is god), or atheistic (no gods)? You get to define if they
look like the inhabitants only a lot bigger and purple, or like little chipmunks
with fangs. Are the gods animals? Does each have a specific power? Do they
have one spouse or multiple spouses? Do these gods exist, or are they made
up? Did anything predate these gods?

6) What language(s) do the people of the city speak? Do they speak
English? Italian? Afrikaans? Urdu? Or a completely new language?
7) What kinds of things do the people of your city do daily? Roughly
map out each city’s daily life. What games do children play? Which countries
are poor? Which ones are rich? Is it hard work or is there plenty of time for
8) What are the myths of your city? Create bedtime stories to scare children,
make up fairy tales, and imagine legends with “more than a grain of truth in
them,” or major prophecies.
II. Write a day in the life of an average citizen of your city. Craft a narravtive that
reveals the answers to the eight questions as a person in the city explains what it
is like to live there. Stories are to be posted to the moodle, and are to be as long
as it takes to answer all eight questions and to span at least one day.
Exercise 2: Proposal
Due: ___________ @ start of class
Your city is in crisis! Having spent a day in your city, what is it that needs to be
addressed by the government of the city? What problems have unexpectedly arisen?
What is it that you, as a concerned citizen, need the people in power to know?
This assignment asks you to:
I. Write a letter to your local representative in your city detailing the following:
A. your complaints about the problems in your fictional city. What are they? How
do they distress you? What is it that has officially thrown you off your game?
B. your proposals for solutions using other cities and their problems as evidence for
your cause.

Exercise 3: Debate
Due: ___________ @ start of class
Your local representative has been ineffective. You have been campaigning as a
concerned citizen wit such great effect that the media has become involved. Your
organization has been invited to debate the politician on a talking head cable news show
called CrossCriss, a show about local issues all over the nation. You are going to need to
prepare for the show so that when you appear, you can convince the public (who
watches the show) that this is an important issue and that they should take a vested
interest in it.
This assignment asks of you to:
I. Consider all the pros and cons of the issue. Why is it that you want it to be fixed?
Why would the city resist fixing the issue?
II. Script two real policy positions for debate. Give equal treatment to the pro voice of
the people and the con voice of the policy makers.
III. Perform the scripted debate (lasting 3 minutes) and participate in a group workshop
of the material.
Essay 3
Due: ___________ @ start of class
Reflect on this progression. What was it like to plan a city? What did you discover?
3-4 pages, MLA, TNR 12 pt. font, Works Cited and Consulted (if applicable). Print.