A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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Salmoneus
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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Creyeditor wrote: 10 Dec 2020 23:25
Salmoneus wrote: 10 Dec 2020 21:20
Creyeditor wrote: 10 Dec 2020 03:32 I must stress again how much I enjoy reading this. IMHO, this is some original conlanging [:)] It reminds me a lot of cities and towns in Europe (and the US) minus the rivers and the streets.
Sorry, I don't quite follow?
[was this meant to be for another thread?]
I wrote this late at night. I meant to write conworlding. I fixed it in the original post. The Core vs. Hinterlands (plus its many shades) remind me of urban centers on earth that are often connected to a large area economically. Historically, IINNM, this expansion has been less "spherical" and more "star-shaped" because roads and rivers accelerate transportation and thereby simplify economic expansion. Is that any clearer? It's almost midnight again [:D]
Ahh, I understand now! It was the rivers and streets that got me...

So, historical towns come in many shapes, due to a combination of culture and environment*. This model of mine is more symmetrical for two reasons: first, because space itself, I've assumed in this model, is boring and featureless; and second, because it's easier.

In 'reality', even if space itself is featureless, the empire should be asymmetrical. The inner rings will be fairly symmetrical, but as you go further out, small differences in colonies (resource levels, or politics) will make them better or worse for trade routes, which will result in more colonisation in one direction and less in another. This should end up eventually as a sort of asymmetrical star shape.


*Fun fact: European cities are really weird. I'm told (by a textbook). It turns out, virtually all urban cultures on the planet are overwhelmingly characterised by either square cities or circular cities. Or more accurately: cities in a given culture will be built either on gridlike street plans, or concentric/radiating street plans; and in general, allowing for topographic necessities, and the inevitably of the outermost, most informal settlement being 'incomplete', concentric cities tend to be circular, and grid cities tend to be square. Mediaeval European cities, however, are built on chaotic, street plans, and their overall shape is completely irregular.
This is presumably something to do with the terrible weakness of authority systems, whether municipal or national, in mediaeval Europe. Notably, cities became more regular with the establishment of strong central authorities in the early modern period - at first with triangulating street plans, and then later (as in the US) with grids. However, this probably isn't enough to explain the oddity, given that even neolithic towns are typically more organised than European cities!
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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Sorry for being unclear [:)]
Salmoneus wrote: 11 Dec 2020 20:26 *Fun fact: European cities are really weird. I'm told (by a textbook). It turns out, virtually all urban cultures on the planet are overwhelmingly characterised by either square cities or circular cities. Or more accurately: cities in a given culture will be built either on gridlike street plans, or concentric/radiating street plans; and in general, allowing for topographic necessities, and the inevitably of the outermost, most informal settlement being 'incomplete', concentric cities tend to be circular, and grid cities tend to be square. Mediaeval European cities, however, are built on chaotic, street plans, and their overall shape is completely irregular.
This is presumably something to do with the terrible weakness of authority systems, whether municipal or national, in mediaeval Europe. Notably, cities became more regular with the establishment of strong central authorities in the early modern period - at first with triangulating street plans, and then later (as in the US) with grids. However, this probably isn't enough to explain the oddity, given that even neolithic towns are typically more organised than European cities!
From a Eurpean perspective the US is weird (and maybe the rest of the world). I often heard some phrase like "organically grown" to refer to European-style cities [:D]
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

Post by Torco »

This is a cool model. I'm reminded of Battletech's inner sphere vs the outer periphery. what are you running the numbers on? would you want to maybe share the code?
- similarly, I've assumed that pioneer worlds with a population under 100,000 (and rings where the average planet has a population under 100,000) do not contribute migrants to outer rings. These planets are already low-population, so the desire to go to an even lower-population world is probably lesser, and anyone who does want to do so, I've assumed, will be able to find some such world within the same ring. [fun fact: this assumption is extremely important, because it prevents the entire galaxy from being inhabited far too quickly!]
if one wanted to reinforce this assumption there's also the matter of the resources one has to put together to send an interstellar FTL expedition to somewhere. unless your tech is absurdly high, a small town can't build an interstellar vessel.

Also, cities being square and planned is what's weird: leave people to build and they'll end up with some weird rhyzome. then again, tenochtitlan is said to have been awfully orderly.
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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Torco wrote: 18 Dec 2020 17:32 This is a cool model. I'm reminded of Battletech's inner sphere vs the outer periphery. what are you running the numbers on? would you want to maybe share the code?
Oh god no! Indeed, 'code' would not be the right word!

I just made a big spreadsheet. Some of it is automated, other bits I've just done by hand (though they could, and should, be automated as formulae). I don't like letting people see the workings of something like this, because there's bound to be a bunch of embarrassing errors...
- similarly, I've assumed that pioneer worlds with a population under 100,000 (and rings where the average planet has a population under 100,000) do not contribute migrants to outer rings. These planets are already low-population, so the desire to go to an even lower-population world is probably lesser, and anyone who does want to do so, I've assumed, will be able to find some such world within the same ring. [fun fact: this assumption is extremely important, because it prevents the entire galaxy from being inhabited far too quickly!]
if one wanted to reinforce this assumption there's also the matter of the resources one has to put together to send an interstellar FTL expedition to somewhere. unless your tech is absurdly high, a small town can't build an interstellar vessel.
True - although not entirely true, because the interstellar vessel could be built in a bigger city and shipped out. More generally, though, it's true that smaller settlements are less likely to directly contribute to colonisation, and in particular to the initial settlement (i.e. the bit with the high infrastructure costs). A lot of this will probably be human capital costs. When you create a colony, you're going to want people with particular skills (or even just particular beliefs, personalities, interests, etc). The smaller your colonising settlement, the less likely you are to be able to find all the people you want at one time in your settlement...
Also, cities being square and planned is what's weird: leave people to build and they'll end up with some weird rhyzome. then again, tenochtitlan is said to have been awfully orderly.
Nonetheless, square and circular cities appear all over the place, from the earliest civilisation onward. Here's a map of ancient Babylon, and an artist's reconstruction.

Why is this? I'd guess that factors include:

- squares and rectangles are sensible shapes for a building, both in terms of construction and in terms of habitartion. They tend to stack into bigger squares and rectangles.
- 'rhizomous', branching, linear plans are avoided because of the great virtue of being near the centre of the city. Ribbon development only began in earnest with the invention of the automobile.
- cities are manifestations of both religious and political order. There is both ideological pressure from within, and political pressure from above, to display orderliness, structure and beautiful pattern.
- in much of history, the area beyond a city would be dangerous. Often physically - beyond the city were brigands, or enemy armies. Other times economically - the city would often have its own power structures (and its own liberties), and the land beyond would fall outside them. So there's a tendency to want to remain inside the city walls - and if you have to be outside the city walls, you'd probably rather be close to them (hence even development around the walls, hence maintaining the pattern of the walls).
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

Post by Backstroke_Italics »

Not to mention it's been pretty rare to have large cities with no functioning state. Governments have a vested interest in keeping cities efficient and manageable.

The general trend seems to be that if a city was founded by people with a well-functioning state apparatus, with no breaks in state power, they are grids. If they originate in a time before effective state control, or if there was a significant break in state control (say cities that were nearly abandoned and repopulated during the Dark Ages), they are not grids. So Rome is not a grid, but its colonial cities like Londinium were. But the Anglo-Saxon city that grew from the former Londinium, London, is not. But the British colonies in the New World, like New York, Toronto, and Boston, are.

I'm guessing that even in the far future, starting a colony on a hostile planet hundreds of light years from Earth will require an organization several steps more advanced than homesteaders with wagons. If we assume that there is some central authority in place through the whole colonization process, then cities should be grids.
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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Backstroke_Italics wrote: 19 Dec 2020 08:25 I'm guessing that even in the far future, starting a colony on a hostile planet hundreds of light years from Earth will require an organization several steps more advanced than homesteaders with wagons. If we assume that there is some central authority in place through the whole colonization process, then cities should be grids.
That's an interesting issue. I've basically assumed the opposite in this model: interplanetary colonisation is just wagons in space. In other SF settings of mine, however, I've agreed with your assumption. Why the difference?

Ultimately, this is a question, as so much space opera is, of FTL mechanics. To a considerable extent, FTL choices shape the whole of a SF setting (even if that's just the absence of FTL).

I have assumed here that FTL is cheap. Not necessarily 'easy' - you can't pop from the frontier to the capital willy-nilly - but cheap.

If you make FTL cheap enough, then the FTL element of settling on a new world is cheap. That leaves the in situ set-up costs for a colony. In my main SF setting, those costs are huge: in most cases, decades of oxygenation work, and even then the environment may not be ideal (too cold, too warm, too dry, etc). Or else no oxygenation, a toxic atmosphere, and every element of the settlement has to be solid and airtight.

But if FTL is cheap, then terraforming becomes cheap too, because you can simply find a better planet that doesn't need as much terraforming. That's what I've done here: in this scenario, it's not that hard to find a hospitable planet and simply drive your space-wagon there. If FTL is expensive, then almost inevitably, terraforming will be expensive too - because the more expensive space travel is, the greater the need to settle for whatever's locally available, however suboptimal it may be.

[you can, of course, have a cheap-FTL, dear-terraforming scenario - where hospitable planets are just incredibly, incredibly rare. But this isn't that.]


[and of course it's more complicated than this, because 'cheap' is a complicated concept. What is cheap? My main SF has very cheap FTL... per mile. But it has very expensive FTL per engine (spaceships costs a fortune to make, but are cheap to run). I do this because it creates a certain scenario: one in which colonies are economically integrated (it's not expensive to ship raw materials or heavy industrial produce between planets) and able to grow (it's not expensive to ship people between planets either), but culturally somewhat isolated (the number of ships is limited and they won't stop by your planet that frequently), while ships are big and have (relatively) big crews (dozens or hundreds) and mostly belong to an organised fleet. If you make FTL ships too cheap, what you'll have instead is a constant buzz of small space-rickshaws shuttling back and forwards - which is whats happening in this Empire model...]

[another idea I've played with is for cheap FTL travel, but for FTL ships to be so expensive they're literally irreplaceable. In this scenario, many species engage in interstellar travel, but only a handful have every actually built FTL ships, and most of those species aren't around anymore. So FTL ships are effectively ancient heirlooms of immense value, diligently maintained by engineers who only vaguely understand their workings and can't actually replicate them. (more precisely: the FTL engines are like this; new owners can to some extent build new ship-shells around them if they want). FTL mechanics are fun!]
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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Infuriatingly, I appear to have lost the updated version of my file, and so to go beyond the first 1,000 years (which had been my intent) I'd have to rewrite a bunch of stuff I've already written, which would/will be time-consuming and annoying. On the other hand, maybe this is will be enough motivation to get me to start from scratch, with a more fully automated version this time...

It also means I don't have the exact figures to hand for the final post describing the galaxy at 1k. Fortunately, I do remember a bit...


7. The New Frontier

The outermost ring of human colonisation is a vast perimeter of around 2,000,000 planets. However, only between a half and two thirds of these planets have so far been settled. This wave of settlement has already taken around 300 years - settlement has slowed dramatically. There has been, in effect, a vicious cycle of under-settlement: as the emigrating pioneers permeated through a vast number of candidate worlds, populations on each individual world remained low; the low populations kept these settlements as the rustic pioneer towns that their founders largely intended; this dissuaded mass migration from more cosmopolitan planets. Migration in this model is not quite exponential, but is certainly non-linear: the faster a small town grows, the quicker it attracts more density-loving newcomers, and since these newcomers far outnumber those who want to live in frontier homesteads, this spurs quicker and quicker growth. With slow initial growth, by contrast, the new settlements never become attractive to the city-slicker market, so never tap into that source of quicker growth - and hence growth remains slow. It also doesn't help that this settlement is almost entirely from the Hinterlands: the Old Frontier itself remains too sparsely populated to have begun to be a significant migration donor.

Did I say the Old Frontier was sparsely populated? Not at all. Why, its planets average tens of thousands of inhabitants! The New Frontier is very different: many planets can boast populations of under a thousand people, and even the largest carry no more than a few thousand. Of course, with over a million of these planets, statistically-expected variation is quite high. Perhaps there are some New Frontier planets with tens of thousands of inhabitants - perhaps they're ideological communes exiled from a more populated world en masse, or perhaps they happen to have struck on major, easily-exploited mineral reserves to supply nearby Hinterland worlds that happen to be low in resources (in which case, they may politically remain under the control of a patron Hinterland planet). Overwhelmingly, however, New Frontier worlds are absolutely tiny.

What does that mean for the inhabitants? Well, for a start, most of these planet will bear single settlements - there may be some individualists in the wilderness, but only in the wilderness very close to camp. These settlements cannot support very many economic functions: there will generally be a single 'general store' to serve all needs, and some experts adept at dealing with particular tasks essential to small and young communities, but in general there is little job specialisation - everyone has to pitch in. As much as possible is made from local mineral and agricultural resources - there are no complex factories or chemical plants, and there is usually little money to waste on imports. It's a hard life - though sustained by a very strong sense of community. Many planets consist entirely of first-generation immigrants, who generally arrived as a single 'project' - many others entirely, or almost entirely, consist of the descendents of such a project. Projects generally have tight ideological parameters - some may be very specific (religious sects make up a large percentage of these planets), while others involve a vaguer ethical-political commitment. Later-generation planets may no longer share the convictions of their founders (though many do), but even if not, they generally have a strong local culture and solidarity as a group. Later migrants to a New Frontier planet have generally come individually or in very small groups - the insular populations on these planets do not welcome challenges from cohesive groups of newcomers, and as there are plenty of virgin planets left to explore such newcomers are generally uninterested in unnecessarily picking fights with locals. Some conflict has no doubt arisen with unusually resource-rich planets, but this is the exception, not the norm. A few planets have been intentionally temporarily settled, in the service of art, science or faith; sometimes these temporary settlements have proven permanent.

In many cases, these settlements are physically dominated by the hulks of spaceships: beaching a ship - with its power, computing, weather-resistant hull, habitation areas and so forth - is a relatively efficient way to provide the core of a new colony. In older colonies, these ships have since been dwarfed by the settlement that has grown around them - sometimes they are maintained for their historical or symbolic/religious value, while elsewhere they may have been dismantled for parts and materials (in colonies in the Core, early settler ships are often found in museums - but of course, in these cases not only was the settlement nearly a thousand years ago, but the settlement of each planet consisted of many, even countless, individual landings, so such ships have little individual importance). In the New Frontier, however, these ships often continue to provide the core facilities that would not otherwise be economical to construct - medical lab, school, library, radio station, meteorological forecasting facility, auditorium, and so forth.



-------


Interestingly, 'New Frontier' worlds do, in a way, exist on Earth. The closest analogue may be Tristan da Cunha: founded by only 15 settlers, it now has around 250 (though many have recently left, apparently). All land is owned and farmed communally; immigration is prohibited. There is a single school, providing education between the ages of 4 and 16 - it has five classrooms, plus a few other facilities. There is one doctor. Contact with The Rest Of The Planet is generally by fishing boat - three fishing boats regularly visit the island from Earth, amounting to around a dozen visits a year. In a medical emergency, it is sometimes possible to hail a random fishing boat and beg them to come to the island (larger ships cannot dock at the island even if they wanted to). They experimented with having The Internet, but it wasn't cost-effective - you can still access it, but only in the local internet cafe. It's mostly used for emails to Earth. They've not yet gotten around to building a mobile phone network, but there is a local radio station - though that might only be because it's subsidised by the military. There was a local paper for around a decade, but isn't anymore - I suspect that sort of thing depends heavily on the personal hobby of a single person. There are few cars, but there is a converted school bus that can be used by local pensioners; there's also one small road. There's a shop, and also a cafe; there are two churches. There's a government - about a dozen people - but they only meet about six times a year.

Tristan is at the smaller end of New Frontier planets, but is more viable than a true planetary colony of its size, due to its greater ability to communicate with major population sources.
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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it's all good. tho, hey, man, we all go for unelegant solutions when elegance doesn't matter: did i tell you about the time I made a rudimentary time tracking system on google docs for my company? [:D]
Salmoneus wrote: 19 Dec 2020 00:17 A lot of this will probably be human capital costs. When you create a colony, you're going to want people with particular skills (or even just particular beliefs, personalities, interests, etc). The smaller your colonising settlement, the less likely you are to be able to find all the people you want at one time in your settlement...
though, then again, some items on that list are going to be, well, settler skills: just like the brits would reuse talented hunters, plantation managers and, well, slavers and the enslaved from one colony to the other, so would one expect a few frontiersmen to advance with the frontier. Also, fair enough on those cities, but they're I think very much the exception: square is a perfectly good shape for a planned city after all, it's just I understand the vast majority of cities in ye oldentime weren't that planned. Then again the spaniards gave us very standardized downtowns here in latam and if they could do it with 16th century tech your galaxy colonizers could too.
[another idea I've played with is for cheap FTL travel, but for FTL ships to be so expensive they're literally irreplaceable. In this scenario, many species engage in interstellar travel, but only a handful have every actually built FTL ships, and most of those species aren't around anymore. So FTL ships are effectively ancient heirlooms of immense value, diligently maintained by engineers who only vaguely understand their workings and can't actually replicate them. (more precisely: the FTL engines are like this; new owners can to some extent build new ship-shells around them if they want). FTL mechanics are fun!]
oooh, i like it.

Btw is the new frontier... pre-terraformed? or is terraforming just kind of cheap. cause when you're talking about planets with a couple thousand people living there they're either earthlike planets or we're talking about at best zeppelins on venus, and at worst a ground level space station. Anyway, I think it's at this point also that those details about who is colonizing and why are really going to show: when you have hundreds of thousands of people you're talking about the city, and whatever the economics of ideology of people there it's still gonna look more or less the same. but small outposts tend to be concrete projects more than colonies: you know, plantations, mines, research stations. I have trouble imagining that it'd be only agricultural homesteaders and townspeople.

Aw, man, now I'm gonna go on a 'interstellar civilizations: what's their economy look like anyway'
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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Torco wrote: 23 Dec 2020 01:32 though, then again, some items on that list are going to be, well, settler skills: just like the brits would reuse talented hunters, plantation managers and, well, slavers and the enslaved from one colony to the other, so would one expect a few frontiersmen to advance with the frontier.
That's true - but I suspect the number would be small relative to the total number of colonists.
Also, fair enough on those cities, but they're I think very much the exception: square is a perfectly good shape for a planned city after all, it's just I understand the vast majority of cities in ye oldentime weren't that planned.
Science, as I understand it, disagrees with you. Most cities in Ye Oldentime probably were not planned from scratch - although a very high percentage of them were*; but most were constructed under an extreme degree of centralised authority. People didn't just turn up and build a house - they needed planning permission. Usually they'd have to wait until the government constructed a new housing estate for them - at the very least, they had to build where they were told to build, which was usually in a way that fit into existing urban patterns.

Of course, this doesn't mean that every city was a perfect square or circle - some areas would be built up 'early' or 'late', and of course the underlying topography would always have the power to introduce bends and kinks.
[another idea I've played with is for cheap FTL travel, but for FTL ships to be so expensive they're literally irreplaceable. In this scenario, many species engage in interstellar travel, but only a handful have every actually built FTL ships, and most of those species aren't around anymore. So FTL ships are effectively ancient heirlooms of immense value, diligently maintained by engineers who only vaguely understand their workings and can't actually replicate them. (more precisely: the FTL engines are like this; new owners can to some extent build new ship-shells around them if they want). FTL mechanics are fun!]
oooh, i like it.
Thank you
Btw is the new frontier... pre-terraformed? or is terraforming just kind of cheap. cause when you're talking about planets with a couple thousand people living there they're either earthlike planets
Yes, so, in this setting, I've assumed that terraforming costs (in time and in resources) are very low for at least some planets, and that FTL is cheap enough that such planets can be easily found. I think you have to assume something along these lines in order to have this sort of 'galactic empire' setting: if it's not cheap to expand, then you'll instead have a much smaller world, and in particular you won't have the absolutely extreme differences in scale that this model provides.

[That is: a setting like Star Wars - and the many other 'galactic empire' model settings - assumes that you have both a) massively populated urban planets, and also b) lots and lots of planets with only slightly more inhabitants than a railroad stop in the wild west. And it turns out that if you adopt assumptions like the set I picked, you can get that setting. But without those assumptions, you probably can't...]
or we're talking about at best zeppelins on venus, and at worst a ground level space station.
FTR, my main SF setting, where terraforming is expensive and there are hostile aliens, does indeed have a lot of small settlements like this, along with a small number of full colony worlds. However, in the galactic empire setting, you mostly don't get these - because expansion to hospitable worlds is cheap (either there are lots of them, or they're easy to make, or your FTL is just so great), there's little need to waste your time in any less than hospitable (outside of the oldest and most populated systems).
Anyway, I think it's at this point also that those details about who is colonizing and why are really going to show: when you have hundreds of thousands of people you're talking about the city, and whatever the economics of ideology of people there it's still gonna look more or less the same. but small outposts tend to be concrete projects more than colonies: you know, plantations, mines, research stations. I have trouble imagining that it'd be only agricultural homesteaders and townspeople.
Some portion will indeed be politically or economically linked to larger planets.

But less than you might think, I think. By the time you get to the New Frontier, you've been through several rings of progressively less populated worlds. Even in the Outer Core, there's spare space; the Hinterlands are drowning in unoccupied land, and the Old Frontier is barely inhabited at all, relatively speaking. So ordinary "we need some space to put this thing", or "we need a gold mine" or "we need good growing conditions" or whatever reasons mostly won't cut it - you'll be able to find places to put your mines, plantations, research stations, holiday homes, etc, on already-established worlds. The people who go out to the New Frontier will mostly be people who specifically want to not be anywhere else. And there's a limit to the number of mines and research stations you need, anyway.

I mean, what percentage of small villages on earth are research stations? It's very, very low. And to get to a place where research stations are more common than 'people who for some unfathomable reason want to live in the middle of nowhere', you basically have to go to Antarctica - even in southern Chile, or northern Norway, normal residential villages far outnumber the other possibilities.

Aw, man, now I'm gonna go on a 'interstellar civilizations: what's their economy look like anyway'
[/quote]
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Re: A (Very Rough) Galactic Empire Population Model

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FTR, my main SF setting, where terraforming is expensive and there are hostile aliens, does indeed have a lot of small settlements like this, along with a small number of full colony worlds.
yeah, I remember it was p cool. there was mining of tholins in the outer planets, which at the time i remember striking me as odd but sounds to me more plausible these days tbh.

I think that this
But less than you might think, I think. By the time you get to the New Frontier, you've been through several rings of progressively less populated worlds. Even in the Outer Core, there's spare space; the Hinterlands are drowning in unoccupied land, and the Old Frontier is barely inhabited at all, relatively speaking. So ordinary "we need some space to put this thing", or "we need a gold mine" or "we need good growing conditions" or whatever reasons mostly won't cut it - you'll be able to find places to put your mines, plantations, research stations, holiday homes, etc, on already-established worlds. The people who go out to the New Frontier will mostly be people who specifically want to not be anywhere else. And there's a limit to the number of mines and research stations you need, anyway.
makes perfect sense if we assume a thing which I have trouble assuming, but which honestly might well be, as you say, essential for the kind of "galaxy empire with wild west planets but also ecumenopolises (ecumenopoleis?) t stars and planets are mostly real estate (i.e. a solution to the problem of where do i put this/where can i live/i don't wanna live here where do i go). this is I think a distinctly anglo-american notion, i.e. that the settlers were pilgrims driven from the core and so on. While finding cheap land to homestead and so on was surely a meaningful motivation for a bunch of the individuals that got on the ships to the thirteen colonies, it's also true that the great expansion projects of earlier civilizations were mainly driven by economic factors: real estate considerations notwithstanding, it was spices, slaves, sugar, coffee, opium, and forcefully opening countries to trade that drove the great colonization efforts.

To carry on with your lovely example of my country, of course most towns are residential, but towns in different parts of the country (and I think this is true in other places of the new world too) are strongly coloured by sort of what I'm calling here the 'reasons for colonizing'. the german colonies in the south are, well, homesteads, because the local authorities asked the german government whether they might please have any aryan families with a spring in their step and a can-do attitude who might be wanting to settle the end of the world. (you see they wanted to improve the race or something, scientific racism was very much a thing). and their colonies (and descendents) are coloured by that. the city of valdivia, established as a sort of forward operating base in the middle of mapuche territory inherited not only the spectacular forts and towers that dot it but also an endemic disdain for the surrounding countryside. the northern mining cities are famous for drugs divorces and escorts, cause the miners work crazy hours over in the foundries and mines, and that tends to lead either to a happy family life or a frugal, austere lifestyle. Of course, to your credit, that's where my approach hits a brick wall which you don't: interstellar colonization -if it does happen- is unlikely to be about spices, slaves, or coffee... but what is it gonna be fueled by? stellasers? harvesting alien samples for biotech companies? tourism for the super-rich? jean luc picard said personal growth.

this is to a significant degree a matter of genre and preference: i enjoy a lot of economics first in my conwording, but macroeconomics is a consideration absent from the space opera genre, and probably for this very reason. giordano bruno probably thought the moon people also had monasteries and a rural smithy.
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