How Does Housing Work?
"The Romans used every housing form known today and they have a remarkably modern look." - Stephen Gardiner
Housing is a very important, but frequently misunderstood, metric in Civ VI. Having adequate Housing in your cities is crucial to growing your cities. Not only does additional population provide science and culture, and enable you to generate more food and non-farm yields from tiles worked by your citizens, but your ability to build certain districts depends entirely on your cities' population. Managing your cities' Housing is, therefore, crucial to success in Civ VI.
Although lack of Amenities can also impair city growth, Housing is a separate concept, independent of Amenities. For an explanation of the Amenity system and sources of Amenities, see "Amenity Guide."
- Key concepts
- What is Housing, and why is it important?
- How do I get Housing?
- Appeal - A special form of adjacency bonus that just applies to Neighborhoods and changes the amount of Housing that a neighborhood provides, and also will affect Culture Victory’s Tourism system through National Parks and Seaside Resorts.
- Citizen - A unit of population in a city
- GP - A Great Person, who can provide certain bonuses when used
- Housing - A number that represents the maximum supportable population in a city
What is Housing, and why is it important?
Housing can be described as a number that represents the maximum supportable Population in a city, but this statement is incomplete. At any given point in the game, each city has a certain number of Citizens and a certain amount of Housing, both of which are reflected on the City View panel (lower right hand side of the screen when the city is selected), and each Citizen in a city counts as 1 "unit" towards the Housing limit in that city. In the image below, Shenyang has 13 Citizens and Housing of 16. You can see additional Housing details by opening the City Details screen, as shown in the image at right.
A city's Housing number is not a hard "cap" on the number of Citizens in that city, but it does indicate what that hard cap is and when growth in that city will start to slow. Specifically, when the number of Citizens in a city is 2 or more below that city's Housing (for example, a city with 13 Citizens and 16 Housing), there are no Housing-related growth penalties in that city. Other factors may limit growth in that city, such as lack of Amenities or inadequate food production, but where there is ample Housing to accommodate city growth, there are no Housing-related growth limitations.
When the number of Citizens is 1 below the city's Housing, city growth is reduced by 50%, and when the number of Citizens in a city is equal to, or greater than, the city's Housing, city growth is reduced by 75%. Once the number of Citizens is 5 higher than the city's Housing, city growth stops altogether (even if you have plenty of food and Amenities to support more growth).
Punchline: You need Housing to keep growing your cities.
How do I get Housing?
The base source of Housing is water, but you can also obtain Housing from numerous sources, including certain tile improvements, buildings, districts, wonders, governments, policies, GPs and City-States.
Each city you found starts with a minimum of 2 Housing. Of course, if a newly founded city only has 2 Housing that city will start out with a 50% growth penalty, since its number of Citizens (1) is only 1 below its initial Housing (2). Thankfully, that 2-Housing minimum only applies to cities that are founded without access to a source of water. There are two levels of water access that are relevant to city founding: (a) Fresh Water and (b) Coastal Water.
A city has access to Fresh Water if the city is founded on a tile that is adjacent to a river, lake or oasis. Settling next to a source of Fresh Water boosts the city's starting Housing by +3, from 2 to 5 Housing. This will allow the city to grow to at least 4 Citizens before experiencing any Housing-related growth limitations.
A city has access to Coastal Water if the city is founded on a coastal tile -- a land tile that is adjacent to a coastal water tile. Settling next to a source of Coastal Water boosts the city's starting Housing by +1, from 2 to 3 Housing. This at least allows the city to grow by 1 more Citizen before becoming subject to the 50% growth penalty.
What this all means is that a city founded next to a Fresh Water source can focus on building "other things" before worrying about finding more sources of Housing, but cities founded on the coast or without any water access at all need to make Housing an early priority.
Whether a city has access to Fresh Water, Coastal Water or no water source at all, the City Details screen will show its initial Housing (2, 3 or 5) as "Housing from Water". Your capital will also show at least 1 Housing "from buildings" (the Palace always provides +1 Housing "from buildings").
After researching Engineering (a Classical Era technology), you can build the aqueduct district, which does not count towards your city's district limit. An aqueduct must be built on one of the 6 tiles that are adjacent to your city center tile and must connect the city center tile to either a mountain or a new source of fresh water. That means you cannot build an aqueduct on an otherwise eligible tile if that new tile's only source of fresh water is a source that the city center already has access to (i.e., the city is founded on a river and the proposed aqueduct tile's only access to fresh water is the same river segment that the city borders).
In addition, like all other districts, you cannot build an aqueduct on a flood plains tile or on a tile that has a luxury resource or a visible strategic resource. And if you build the aqueduct on a tile with a bonus resource (like wheat or sheep) or a removable terrain feature (like woods or rainforest), the bonus resource or terrain feature will be removed, but you receive no one-time yields; if you want to obtain the one-time yields from harvesting or bulldozing, you need to use a builder to harvest or bulldoze that tile before placing your aqueduct district.
For an illustration of these placement limitations, see the spoiler below.
Spoiler Aqueduct placement restrictions :
The Civilopedia states that that a city without water access can "receive up to +6 Housing" from an aqueduct, but that is misleadingly phrased; what they really mean is that a city without water access will be "topped up to +6 Housing." If your city has Fresh Water access (adjacent to river, lake or oasis), an aqueduct will provide +2 Housing (increasing your city's initial 5 Housing from water to 7 Housing from water). If your city has Coastal Water access, an aqueduct will provide +3 Housing (increasing your city's 3 Housing from water to 6 Housing from water). And if your city has no water access at all, an aqueduct will provide +4 Housing (increasing your city's 2 Housing from water to 6 Housing from water).
Clearly you get the greatest return on your production investment when you build an aqueduct in a city with the least amount of Housing from water. However, the cities that will most benefit from an aqueduct are likely to remain small, with low production, until the aqueduct (and a Granary) are built in those cities. To build an aqueduct (and a Granary) quickly in a new city, you may have to run one or more internal trade routes from the new city to high production cities, to generate much-needed production in the new city.
The Bath is Rome's unique replacement for the aqueduct. Although a Bath has the same placement restrictions as a regular aqueduct, it is half the production cost of a regular aqueduct and provides an additional bonus of +2 Housing and +1 Amenity. At half cost and with the additional Housing and Amenity, a Roman player should consider building a Bath in every city.
Many types of tile improvements will provide small amounts of Housing:
Note that to obtain Housing from these improvements you do not need to assign any Citizens to work those improved tiles; it is sufficient that those improvements are on tiles that are within your city's workable range and inside its culture borders. So, a city with two Farms, a Plantation, and a Pasture inside its culture borders will have an additional +2 Housing from tile improvements, whether or not any of those tiles are being worked.
- Camp - a Camp provides +0.5 Housing (in addition to its non-Housing yields)
- Farm - a Farm provides +0.5 Housing (in addition to its non-Housing yields)
- Fishing Boats - Fishing Boats provide +0.5 Housing (in addition to their non-Housing yields)
- Plantation - a Plantation provides +0.5 Housing (in addition to its non-Housing yields)
- Pasture - a Pasture provides +0.5 Housing (in addition to its non-Housing yields)
- Stepwell - India's unique improvement - In addition to its non-Housing yields, a Stepwell provides +1 Housing and, once you research Sanitation (Industrial Era technology), +1 more Housing.
The following buildings grant Housing (note that certain of these buildings can only be built in a specific district):
- Barracks - Barracks (unlocked by the Bronze Working technology) provides +1 Housing and can only be built in an encampment district that does not already have a Stable.
- Granary - Granary (unlocked by the Pottery technology) provides +2 Housing and +1 Food and is built in the city center. Because it is available early in the game and provides much-needed +2 Housing, a Granary is a common early production item in cities that do not have full Fresh Water access. To build a Granary quickly, consider running a trade route from the new city to a high production city, to generate much-needed production in the new city.
- Lighthouse - Lighthouse (unlocked by the Celestial Navigation technology) provides +1 Housing and can only be be built in a Harbor district.
- Military Academy - Military Academy (unlocked by the Military Science technology) provides +1 Housing and can only be be built in an encampment district that has an Armory.
- Palace - Your Palace provides +1 Housing in your capital and appears automatically in your capital. If your original capital is conquered, a Palace will automatically appear in your new capital.
- Pagoda - Pagoda provides +1 Housing, but can only be built in a Holy Site district that has a temple and only if the city in which it is built has a majority religion that includes Pagoda as its worship building belief. Also, there is only room for one worship building in any city, so if you previously build a different worship building in a city and that city's majority religion changes to a religion that includes Pagodas, you will not be able to build a Pagoda in that city.
- Seaport - Seaport (unlocked by the Electricity technology) provides +1 Housing and can only be built in a Harbor district that has a Shipyard.
- Sewer - Sewer (unlocked by the Sanitation technology) provides +2 Housing and is built in the city center.
- Stable - Stable (unlocked by the Horseback Riding technology) provides +1 Housing and can only be built in an encampment district that does not already have a Barracks.
- University - A University (unlocked at Education), including Arabia's unique University replacement, the Madrassa, provides +1 Housing, in addition to its other yields, and can only be built in a Campus district that has a Library.
When you unlock the Urbanization civic, you can build Neighborhood districts in your cities. Unlike other districts, which are limited to one per city, you can build an unlimited number of Neighborhoods in your cities. In the early to mid-game, Farms provide much needed Housing, but in the later game, as Farms benefit from their Feudalism and Replaceable Parts adjacency bonuses, it can be beneficial to sacrifice a Farm or two to build Neighborhoods. Although a Neighborhood generates no Food, it provides much more Housing than a Farm, and if your city is Housing constrained, and operating under 75% (or greater) growth penalties, any excess food being produced in that city is essentially going to waste. As long as your placement of Neighborhoods does not prevent your remaining Farms from obtaining good adjacency bonuses, replacing some Farms with Neighborhoods may be key to growing your cities again.
By default, Neighborhoods add +4 Housing to a city, but the Housing number is adjusted up or down based on the Appeal of the tile where the Neighborhood is built:
A comprehensive review of Appeal is beyond the scope of this Guide, but Appeal is generally affected by the following:
- Breathtaking - Neighborhoods on tiles with Breathtaking Appeal provide +6 Housing
- Charming - Neighborhoods on tiles with Charming Appeal provide +5 Housing
- Average - Neighborhoods on tiles with Average Appeal provide +4 Housing
- uninviting - Neighborhoods on tiles with Uninviting Appeal provide +3 Housing
- Disgusting - Neighborhoods on tiles with Disgusting Appeal provide +2 Housing
The Kongo unique replacement for the Neighborhood, the Mbanza, differs from ordinary Neighborhoods in a number of important respects:
- +2 Appeal for each adjacent Natural Wonder
- +1 Appeal for each adjacent Holy Site, Theater Square, Entertainment Complex, or wonder
- +1 Appeal for each adjacent Mountain, Coast, Woods or Oasis
- +1 Appeal for if the tile is on a river or lake
- For America only, +1 Appeal to all tiles (including Neighborhood tiles) in a city with a National Park
- -1 Appeal for each adjacent Industrial Zone, Encampment, Airport or Spaceport
- -1 Appeal for each adjacent Rainforest, Marsh or Floodplain (but note that Brazil's unique ability "Amazon" provides +1 Appeal for Neighborhoods built next to Rainforest tiles)
- -1 Appeal for each adjacent pillaged tile
- Mbanzas are unlocked earlier than Neighborhoods -- Kongo can build Mbanzas when they unlock the Guilds civic, which is a Medieval Era civic, as compared to Urbanization, which an Industrial Era civic
- Mbanzas can only be built on Ranforest or Woods tiles - if Kongo does not have enough Rainforest or Woods tiles to build Mbanzas, it may have to await unlocking the Conservation civic, which allows you to use Builder charges to plant new Woods
- Mbanzas always provide +5 Housing, regardless of Appeal, which means Kongo can plop down Mbanzas next to Industrial Zones or amidst Rainforest tiles without sacrificing Housing
- Kongo will earn a free Apostle when it completes a Mbanza (or a Theater Square) in a city that has a majority religion -- the Apostle will have that city's religion when it appears
In addition to Pagodas, one religious belief provides a Housing boost:
Civics, Policies and Governments
- Religious Community - The Religious Community follower belief causes Shrines and Temples to each provide +1 Housing. For Shrines and Temples in a particular city to benefit from this belief, the religion that has this belief must be the majority religion in that city.
A number of civics, policies and governments provide Housing benefits:
In addition, as noted above in the Neighborhood discussion, the Modern Era civic Conservation allows building of National Parks (and construction of Naturalists) and allows Builders to plant Woods.
- Monarchy - The inherent bonus from the Monarchy form of government provides +2 Housing in any city with Medieval Walls
- Insulae - The Insulae policy is unlocked by the Classical Era civic Games and Recreation and provides +1 Housing in all cities with 2 specialty districts. The Insulae policy is obsoleted by the Medina Quarter policy.
- Medina Quarter - The Medina Quarter policy is unlocked by the Medieval Era civic Medieval Faires and provides +2 Housing in all cities with at least 3 specialty districts. The Medina Quarter policy is obsoleted by the New Deal policy.
- New Deal - The New Deal policy is unlocked by the Modern Era civic Suffrage and provides +4 Housing, +2 Amenities, and -8 Gold in all cities with at least 3 specialty districts.
- Public Transport - The Public Transport policy is unlocked by the Industrial Era civic Urbanization (which also unlocks the ability to build Neighborhoods) and provides +50 Gold per Appeal of tile when replacing a Farm with a Neighborhood district.
Only one wonder provides a Housing-related boost:
- Eiffel Tower - The Eiffel Tower wonder, which is unlocked by the Modern Era technology Steel causes all tiles in your civilization to gain +2 Appeal. This has the effect of transforming tiles with Average Appeal into tiles with Breathtaking Appeal.
There is one City-State that provides a Housing boost to its Suzerain:
- Mohenjo-Daro - The Mohenjo-Daro suzerain bonus provides all of your cities with full Housing from Fresh Water (as if they were all founded next to a river).
There are several Great People who provide Housing or Housing-related boosts:
- Alvar Aalto (Great Engineer, Modern Era) - City provides +1 Appeal to any tile it owns. 1 charge.
- Charles Correa (Great Engineer, Information Era) - City provides +2 Appeal to any tile it owns. 1 charge.
- Jane Drew (Great Engineer, Atomic Era) - +4 Housing and +3 Amenities in this city. 1 charge.
- John Roebling (Great Engineer, Atomic Era) - +2 Housing and +1 Amenity in this city. 2 charges.
- Mimar Sinan (Great Engineer, Renaissance Era) - +1 Housing and +1 Amenity for this city. 2 charges.
Managing the Housing needs of your cities is critical to successful play. There are plenty of sources of Housing, but some are unlocked later than you might prefer, which can result in Housing-related growth bottlenecks at various points in the course of a game. On the other hand, some sources of Housing might be readily available but require that you divert from your primary research or development path to access or implement them to address your cities' Housing needs.
I hope you will find this Guide useful to identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls. This Guide is a work-in-progress and I encourage comments, corrections and suggestions.