Happy Micropolis Day!

[Edit: I may have originally posted this implying the 15th anniversary. That will be next year. I will now have a soothing cup of tea, before going to bed…]

I was having a chat with my friend Sue Ann the other day, and she asked ‘Did you realise it is the 14th anniversary of Micropolis this week? I thought you’d be interested because you have been promoting some other community building standards lately.’

Cultural Arts Centre with Hotels estate: by Sue Ann Barber at Brickvention 2014.

14 years already? It felt like only a couple of years since I first built a couple of modules using the collaborative city plan standard at Brickvention in 2013. Perhaps it was longer than I realised, as I wandered back through my Flickr gallery. ‘I don’t really know much about where it came from Sue Ann. Can you help me?’

And so, an hour or two later, she sent me this…

August 17th is Micropolis Day! On this day in 2008, Max Braun first presented the Micropolis concept to his local LUG, TwinLUG, and the standard was created.

utopolis_2004_playbox
Part of Michel Labelle’s Utopolis project.

Inspired by the Utopolis Micro City work of Michel Labelle, as seen in issue 2 of Brickjournal, Max wanted to create a standard that encouraged people to collaboratively build a micro-city.

An unexpected bonus of the standard is its accessibility as an entry point for MOC builders new to collaboration or with a limited supply of LEGO parts. Micropolis is based on 4 modules (16×16) connected together to create a city block (32×32). These are then connected to other modules or city blocks to form a city. The standard has changed a bit since 2008, but is still recognisable in its current format. Details of the standard can be found on the TwinLUG website.

Below are Max’s original Micropolis module and the first Twin Lug public Micropolis display

Micropolis - BrickWorld Chicago 2016
Micropoils @ Brickworld Chicago, 2017 – Image Nathan Stohlman

Fast forward to 2022 and Micropolis is now a regular feature at LEGO Fan events in North America, UK, Europe, and Australia. Noted builders in the standard include Caz Mockett, Jennifer Heaton and Nathan Stohlmann (who now maintains the standard) and Bill Ward . [editor: feel free to chase down these links for a rabbit hole of Micropolian goodness] Both a Facebook group and a Discord server exist to discuss and share the latest builds and new ideas.

1-4 Deskey Drive - Front
1-4 Deskey Drive by Caroline Mockett
Micropolis Twin Houses
Micropolis Twin houses – Bill Ward

Next year, 2023, marks 15 years of the Micropolis Standard and 10 years since it was first exhibited at Brickvention in Melbourne, Australia. To celebrate the dual anniversaries, exhibitors at Brickvention 2023 will be attempting to break the existing Brickvention Micropolis City Block Record of 83 city blocks – something they believe is easily achievable. The current world record of 153 city blocks is believed to be held by Brickworld 2017 in Chicago, USA. The Brickvention exhibitor community are not too bothered about breaking the world record so much as encouraging more people to enjoy building the standard and to be part of a collaboration to create a huge micro city. 

Brickvention 2017 Micropolis 18 of 50.jpg
Part of Micropolis at Brickvention 2017 – Image Bill Ward

I’ll have to admit, Sue Ann has convinced me that the time has come to start preparing for Brickvention 2023 (which is an important consideration as applications for local exhibitors close in the next week.)

I now have no excuse for not proceeding with some Micropolis modules for Brickvention 2023

Have you ever built to the Micropolis standard? Share your pics!

If you are posting any soon, why not tag it with #ramblingmicropolis: I’d love to see it.

Until Next time…

Play well.

You can also keep up to date by following @Ramblingbrick in Instagram and Twitter, or by subscribing to email updates.

Post Script: Caz Mockett has posted some new modules to celebrate micropolis day, just as I hit publish.

TwinLUG Plaza
Anniversary House
Max Braun Institute for Urban Planning
Bring them all together to create the Birhday plaza.

5 thoughts on “Happy Micropolis Day!

  1. I’m Nathan Stohlmann and a friend sent me the link to this article and I was so happy to see it! It’s been a long and fun journey with the Micropolis standard and, other than the past couple of years for global pandemic reasons, I wouldn’t have missed any of it.

    One small piece of errata that is worth noting: Most of the images in my flickr feed are modules that my partner Jennifer Heaton created. I have tried really hard to make sure I credit her in the descriptions but I’m sure I’ve missed a couple over the years. I swear that for every one module that I agonize over for months she’s probably created at least four that are at least as good if not better, and probably did each one in a couple of hours. Until the incomparable Caz came to the scene Jennifer was absolutely the most prolific Micropolis builder and has only been surpassed by Caz in the last couple of years.

    Liked by 1 person

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