Colonising a World: Establishing Towns

After some time has passed, a colony needs to start spreading out.  It’s human nature to want to explore the land and set roots somewhere.  With a growing population, new settlements will be needed.  But where would they be established?


Obviously, most towns will be founded along major waterways or on coastlines.  A major river system can support a large population, and also provide an easy way of transportation and trade between towns.  It provides the towns with drinking water and water for farms.

On Ariadne, the first settlement is next to a major river delta, while the second settlement is on a vast inland sea near a major river.


Towns will spring up where valuable resources are discovered.  These mining towns may continue to live on in the future, but may also become ghost towns.  But the longer they’re there, the more likely they’ll have connections with other settlements and a broader variety of industries.  On a colony world, metals will be valuable for electronics, construction, vehicles, and more.  Trees will also be valuable for construction.

On Ariadne, the first settlement has forest, though the main resource is water, as well as land for farming.  The second settlement is in a forested region with abundant minerals.

Trade Routes

Trade routes will undoubtedly encourage towns to spring up along the way.  The towns will provide travelers a place to stay, eat, and rest.  They will be kind of service towns, though they’ll also have their own industries.

On Ariadne, the route between the first two major settlements have towns along the way.


People want to live in comfortable climates.  Too cold and they’ll have a shorter growing season.  Too hot and dry, and they won’t have enough water.  Too wet, and there’s the risk of flood or unstable ground.

On Ariadne, the first settlement is in a subtropical zone with a comfortable climate that isn’t too hot, dry, or wet.  The second settlement is in a tropical rainforest that does get wet, but the growing season is all year.


Some cultures may want to form their own town.  They may look for an area that is comfortable for their way of life back on Earth.  People tend to gravitate toward their own culture and live with those who have the same values.

On Ariadne, this doesn’t happen until later.

Chance Discovery

Sometimes, there’s just something that fascinates people or gives them some kind of incentive to stay.  This may be a food source, an aquifer, a geothermal vent or hot spring, or beautiful scenery.  It could be anything.

On Ariadne, there is something that encourages one group of people to settle in a somewhat inconvenient location, but I can’t reveal that now.


Everyone likes convenience.  Probably the most important thing that makes a town convenient is access to major population centres.  This can be close proximity to larger cities or being situated on a major transportation route.  These places can easily get goods regularly.

On Ariadne, this is a major factor, as remote locations are not exactly the best option for a young colony.

So, there are many things to consider when selecting a location for a new town.  These are just a few.  What would you consider when choosing a place for a settlement?