Two simple city-based toy / decorations that warmed the cockles of this urbanist heart

Remember Lego City? Of course you do.  But if you’re anything like me, you’re eyeing the set of the nearest kid around you. (Oh come on, if they can have it, I can have it. Who’s the urban planner here?)

But then recently, I came across two entirely different city-simulations that you can ‘build’ or ‘lay out’ – but even more than that, what won me over was their sheer simplicity.


Paper Town is what it says on the tin – a town made entirely of paper – recycled cardboard, to be precise. The towns are modeled on Polish suburbs and come flatpacked – the only assembly that is required is folding along the lines. Incredibly simple, and really makes you wonder: why didn’t anyone think of this before?

Paper Town is available in three sets and costs only £4 per set. Imagine the possibilities!


Then, there are Shelf Cities – hand made by artist Christina Brown out of clay and nothing else, these are the most adorable cities I’ve ever come across.

These could be toys, or these could be decoration – I am just itching to put these on my bookshelves and window sills. Shelf Cities are made to order, and are available for purchase on Christina Brown’s shop The Oak Leaves at Etsy. I think these would make the perfect gift for the urbanist in your life (@friends and family: hint hint!), or really, anyone who adores miniature life!

Simple, inexpensive, plastic free, recyclable and potentially lots of fun. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ideas.

Why have we stopped thinking this way?

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