8 Civilization VI Tips for City Building and Management

The Civilization VI tips for city building and management in this game guide will help you establish, build up, and manage your cities more efficiently. If some of your civilization’s cities aren’t growing much or aren’t very productive and economical, check out the tips directly below.

8 Civilization VI Tips for City Building and Management

City building and management is a big part of Civilization VI. Effective city building and management are crucial to expanding your empire and fulfilling Civ 6’s victory conditions. Small, unproductive, and uneconomical cities will considerably undermine your civilizations. To build bigger and better cities, check out these Civilization VI tips for city building and management.

Read also: 6 Civilization VI Economic Tips

1. Don’t establish cities in desert and snow landscapes

Avoid establishing new settlements at landscapes with lots of desert and snow terrain tiles. Flat desert and snow are the worst terrain tiles in Civilization VI that provide absolutely no base yields for cities. So, cities surrounded by lots of snow and desert terrain will not flourish even if they do have some decent bonus resource tiles.

Snow terrain

Snow terrain

Grassland and plains are the most fertile terrain tiles for cities in Civilization VI. Grass tiles are the best for food yields, but plains tiles are better for production. Stick to settling green parts of the map, and don’t be tempted to establish cities at empty snow or desert landscapes for the sake of expansion.

2. Make the most of district adjacency bonuses

You can enhance a city’s yields by making the most of district adjacency bonuses. Placing some districts beside certain terrain tiles, wonders, or other districts provides science, gold, production, and culture yield bonuses. These are the districts that have adjacency bonuses:

  • Harbor: Bonus gold for placing beside districts or coastal resources
  • Campus: Bonus science for placing beside districts and mountains
  • Commercial Hub: Bonus gold for placing beside districts and rivers
  • Theater Square: Bonus culture for placing beside districts and wonders
  • Industrial Zone: Bonus production for placing beside districts, mines, and quarries
  • Holy Site: Bonus faith for placing beside districts, mountains, woods, and natural wonders

You can get all the above adjacency bonuses by building districts next to other districts. So, always try to build all the above districts beside other ones when you can.

A Campus district with adjacency bonuses

A Campus district with adjacency bonuses

3. Establish cities by rivers and near hills

Rivers are the best terrain feature to establish cities by. A river will provide fresh water for all cities established next to it. That amounts to a housing bonus that boosts population growth. Furthermore, cities by rivers can build Water Mill buildings, which provides +1 production and +1 food. So, make sure you establish some cities by any nearby rivers you find on the map.

Also, try to build cities on and near lots of plains and grassland hills. Plains with hills have +2 production and are even more productive when mined. When you establish a city on plains hills terrain, it will provide +2 food and +2 production instead of its usual +2 production and +1 food yields. Any city with lots of plains hills tiles will be a productive one where you can build buildings and recruit units more quickly.

A city by a river

A city by a river

4. Grow woods to boost production

If a city has big food yields but relatively low productivity, try planting some woods with builders on its grassland, tundra, or plains tiles. Adding a forest to a grassland tile will increase its production by at least one (two if the tile is by a river). Enhancing a new forest tile with a Lumber Mill with further raise its production by one. So, planting woods is a quick and easy way to boost cities’ productivity.

5. Purchase builders with gold (and select Public Works)

As they’re the units for tile improvements and collecting resources, builders are crucial to city management. Therefore, you need to recruit builders often and regularly so that you can keep on enhancing city tiles to boost their yields and collect resources for your civilization throughout the game. Yet, buildings and districts also need to be given a lot of production priority at your cities.

To reduce the amount of time allocated to recruiting builders in cities, purchase those units with your gold surpluses. Builders are among the cheapest units to purchase, so you don’t need huge gold surpluses to buy them. So, invest your gold in builder units so you can enhance your city tiles more quickly. Then you can give a bit more city production priority to buildings and districts.

A builder unit

A builder unit

It’s also recommended that players select the Public Works Policy (unlocked with Civil Engineering). That will boost builder production (or recruitment time) by 30 percent in your cities. Public Words also gives your builders two additional build actions, which will enable you to enhance two more city tiles per unit.

6. Optimize cities for specific yields

The city details screen includes six yield optimization options that are well worth noting. There you can select optimization options that will maximize production, science, culture, faith, food, and gold yields within a city. If a city’s food yields are a bit off, select the food optimization setting to keep it growing. The production optimization setting is always handy for boosting productivity in new cities and for building Wonders quicker.

Selecting those optimization options can also help you fulfill victory conditions to win games. If you’re going for a Science Victory, select the science optimization option. The culture optimization option will boost cultural yields for players aiming for Culture Victory. Players trying to win a Domination Victory should select the production optimization option to maximize productivity for military units in their cities.

A city's yield optimization options

A city’s yield optimization options

7. Don’t establish cities too close to each other

When you’re establishing new cities during the early and mid-game, try to spread them out a bit so they’re not too close to each other. Cities that are established very close to each other will have to share more tiles, which will ultimately reduce their yields. Spreading your cities out more will ensure they don’t have too share so many of their tiles. So, try to keep your cities at least three or four tiles apart.

CIVILIZATION VI - How to Build a City

It’s all the more essential not to establish cities too close to those of another civilization. Firstly, the border civilization will complain to you about settling too near their lands, which can strain relations. The other civilization’s city will also reduce the number of tiles your nearby city can have, which will restrict its potential yields.

8. Build a Colosseum

The Colosseum is one of the best Wonders in Civilization VI, which can give some of your cities a big boost. This Wonder gives all your cities within six tiles of the Colosseum a +3 amenity and +2 culture boost. The +3 amenities bonus to nearby cities that benefit from it can boost their food yields by 5-10 percent and overall population growth by 10-20 percent. The culture bonus will increase cultural yields, which will enable you to unlock civics a bit quicker. So, this is certainly a Wonder worth building close to a few of your cities.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

Those Civilization VI tips for city building and management will ensure your civilizations have better cities. With better cities, your empire will have a bigger overall population, a stronger economy, and greater science and cultural output. Therefore, better cities will enhance your chances of winning Civ 6 games with any victory condition.