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Housing Block Essay

by VitruviusAIA

The block graphics in this essay are temporary and will be replaced with Emperor Heaven glyphs as soon as they are available

For those new to Sierra's City Building series (Caesar, Pharaoh/Cleopatra, Zeus/Poseidon), a Housing Block is simply an arrangement of houses and service buildings. The houses and service buildings are typically placed along a "closed loop" road layout. The entrance/exit to the housing area is "roadblocked" so that service walkers will pass by the housing and not wander off elsewhere. "Aesthetic" features are added to the housing block to increase the "desirability" of the area.

For those familiar with the City Building series, some new features have been added.

Feng Shui

Most structures in Emperor are associated with one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water). It is advantageous to place structures "in harmony" with the terrain. Pre-designed housing blocks will function wherever you place them, but because every map is different and Feng Shui varies across each map, they will most likely be inauspicious.

Residential Walls

Residential Walls block negative desirability while adding positive desirability.

Residential Gates

Gates in Residential Walls can be set to block, or allow the passage of certain walkers. The gate can be set "open" or "closed" for market employees, building inspectors, and for priests, monks and diviners.

Entertainment Walkers

Musicians and Acrobats travel from their respective schools to the market square where they perform. It is a "destination" walk from the school to the market square and roadblocks or residential gates will not block their path. When there is a performance in the market square, an "Announcer" is generated. The Announcer is a "market employee" so if there is a Residential Gate between the market square and the housing, it must be set "open" for the houses to receive entertainment coverage. A Drama School produces actors that perform at a Theatre Pavilion. The Theatre Pavilion sends out its own Announcer.

Food Quality and Distribution

The quality of food available is determined by the variety of food, salt and spices in the Mill. Buyers from a Food Shop located in the Market Square go to the Mill to pick up food. The "Minimum Quality" and the "Desired Quality" of food can be set for each Market Square. Walkers distribute food to houses from the Food Shop. If there is a Residential Gate between the market square and the housing, it must be set "Open For Market Employees" for the houses to receive food.

Housing Block Design - Common Housing

The first thing to be decided is where to place the Housing Block. There are many things to consider. Housing located near the entrance point for immigrants will fill up more quickly. Can the area be easily defended? (Leave room for City Walls, Towers and Gate Houses. Building too close to the edge of the map or rivers can create defense problems.) A large Housing Block can dominate a small map. Is there room for all of the support structures? Your housing must have food and goods to evolve. Is there room nearby for fields and industries?

When you think that you have found a good location, check the Feng Shui of the area. The Feng Shui of Common Housing is Wood. Wood is harmonious with all terrain types except rocks and cliffs. Select Common Housing from the Population Ministry and move it around the area you have chosen. You want housing to be harmonious (green footprint) in most locations. A rock or two in the area, or a patch of arid land, will be required if you want to place Inspector's Towers (Earth) in a harmonious location. A few trees can turn an otherwise inauspicious location harmonious for structures with a Fire Feng Shui.

Every Housing Block that you want to evolve above Huts will need a Well and Ancestral Shrine. An Herbalist will be needed to protect your citizens from disease. You will want an Inspector's Tower and Watchtower in every block as well. Ornate Apartments will require an Acupuncturist. A Buddhist or Daoist structure is required for Luxury Apartments. At some point you will probably want to add a Tax Collector to the Housing Block to generate tax income.

It is not necessary to have "Perfect Harmony" in your city. I usually try for "Harmonious Balance" (the second-best rating). Your city can survive with a rating of "Auspicious" or "Average", but avoid "Inauspicious", "Family Shamed", "City Shamed" and "China Shamed" (listed in descending order). When you have determined that the area you have chosen has harmonious locations for most structures and housing, you are ready to proceed.

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