Let me put it this way... I'd rank the importance like this: Something you want to finish asap. Granary in new cities, military units for an immediate war, settlers for a good spot, etc (whip a lot, even if it's inefficient) Growing small cities bigger, when you have enough happiness and they can work improved tiles (don't whip, maximize food) City is mature (using all it's happiness or good tiles). Use mines, cottages, or specialists to use up its food surplus (don't whip) You've done that, but the city still has extra food. Whip it, but just a little. Sound reasonable? You were talking about the regrowth from a 3-pop whip, so I thought you meant regrowing all 3 pop. Regrowing 1 pop can happen instantly, but regrowing 3 pop is a serious cost.