The Geography of LEGO City

Posted by ,

LEGO City was established in its modern form during 2005, although the founding of this vast metropolis may be traced to the middle of the fifteenth century.

Such longevity is hardly surprising given the wealth of natural resources which surround the city. Its geography is incredibly diverse, ranging from oceans and snowcapped mountains to desert flats and dense jungle, all within sight of LEGO City! We have accordingly compiled an exhaustive guide to the varied terrain one might encounter beyond the city centre.

This article was originally published by the LEGO City Geographical Survey.

LEGO City is a coastal location and its wonderful beaches have been exhibited on multiple occasions. Palm trees grow along the shore and these shallow waters are populated by lobsters, crabs and even dolphins! Such varied wildlife frequently attracts minifigures to the beach and it has therefore become an exceptionally popular tourist destination.

Steep cliffs are situated further along the shore. They can cause difficulties during inclement weather conditions but a diligent coast guard ensures the safety of minifigures at sea. Furthermore, numerous small islands are scattered along the coastline and these must also be navigated carefully, particularly since octopuses and aggressive sharks are known to inhabit these waters.

However, the coastline is not focused exclusively upon leisure and includes a substantial commercial harbour that connects LEGO City with its neighbours around the world. Smaller vessels pass through the harbour frequently too, transporting passengers and cars across the bay as relatively few bridges connect different sections of the city. There is also a marina nearby.


Little information exists regarding the precise layout of LEGO City, although a simple map does appear at one of the transport interchanges, showing the location of several important buildings. These include a hospital, the police station, a cargo depot and the coast guard headquarters. Moreover, we know that LEGO City is the capital of its respective nation, although few governmental buildings are situated here.

Open countryside surrounds LEGO City, interrupted only by occasional farms which are predominantly focused upon grain production. An impressive airport is situated on the outskirts as well, providing both passenger and cargo services. Part of this airport complex is occupied by the Sky Police near the coast while another section once accommodated the spaceport, although that has now been superseded.

Multiple rivers pass through LEGO City, giving way to swamps which dominate low-lying terrain. They are predominantly inhabited by snakes and crocodiles, although their relative proximity to the city has made the swamps an enticing refuge for criminal minifigures. In fact, taller buildings remain visible on the horizon, demonstrating its accessibility.

The foliage becomes increasingly overwhelming as the river continues through a series of waterfalls, eventually transitioning into a jungle environment. Exploration of this region commenced during 2016 and minifigures discovered evidence of an ancient civilisation. Furthermore, the jungle sustains some exotic flora and fauna, including leopards, panthers and even a carnivorous plant species!

Expansive forests continue within the more temperate region surrounding LEGO City, although forest fires have been known to occur during warmer periods. Fortunately, such fires are regularly contained by a dedicated fire department and this area is also patrolled by the Forest Police. Forestry operations can therefore proceed without interruption and they are carried out responsibly, with saplings replacing felled trees.


Commercial activity occurs within the neighbouring mountains too. Gold mines were founded in 2012 and Mount Clutchmore has become a great tourist destination, particularly for hiking. Moreover, snow falling upon the high mountains attracts skiers during the winter months. Warmer spring temperatures then provide meltwater to the fast-flowing rivers below and these sudden torrents sometimes surprise unprepared minifigures.

Volcanologists were dispatched to monitor geothermal activity around the mountains during 2016 and they observed several eruptions. The surrounding volcanic plateau remains under investigation but its distance from LEGO City suggests that there should be little danger to the resident minifigures. In fact, the trans-blue crystals found inside many lava bombs have become quite sought after.

Space missions have historically been launched from the rural terrain immediately outside LEGO City. However, a larger control centre has now been established in the desert, providing additional room for testing and loosely replicating the Martian landscape. Minifigures have chosen to explore Mars as the planet seems remarkably close to Earth, displaying terrain features that are visible with the naked eye! Off-road racing also occurs in the desert.

Despite its proximity to a tropical jungle environment, LEGO City also remains visible from the Arctic coastline, as demonstrated during the 2014 expedition. Subsequent exploration has ventured further inland, beyond view of the city. Extinct animals specimens were recovered here and explorers found evidence of early human habitation as well, inspiring an exhibit at a museum within LEGO City.


LEGO City and its diverse environment has continued to expand during recent years, inspiring some minifigure geographers to wonder what unusual terrain might emerge next. I certainly look forward to finding out soon!

78 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in United States,

Great writeup! To me, it seems scientifically impossible for Lego City to be that geographically diverse. Lego City would have to be huge; thus I assume it's either a country or country-sized. That might explain all the police stations and fire stations.

Gravatar
By in United States,

This is so fun! Love the selection to detail y’all put in the post! Thanks!!!!

Gravatar
By in United States,

LEGO City also seems to have been heavily influenced by car culture, given how much of their infrastructure is dedicated to roads, ferries, service stations, and parking garages.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Wonderful post - it makes me think that Lego City is the European equivalent of a place called Springfield in the USA that I saw on television once...

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Nice article! Regarding "giving way to swamps immediately towards the south", though: The image shows a distant skyline and the sun, so if we assume it's on the northern hemisphere, the swamps would be north (or northeast/northwest) of the City. :)

Gravatar
By in Germany,

The somewhat impossible geographical nature of LEGO City somewhat reminds me of similar settlements in pop-culture such as Simpsons' Springfield or Ducksburg from Duck Tales :)

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

It's all so well thought-out! Such a shame that they're living in blissful ignorance of the impending DUPLOcalypse...

Gravatar
By in United States,

I love these kinds of articles, thanks guys!

However, the economy write up is still my favorite (:

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I think the designers just make it up as they go along....

Gravatar
By in Finland,

Plot twist: What if Lego City is not one city? The theme has, for all these years, taken place in several cities without us knowing it, thus explaining all these different police stations, hospitals etc.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@ArcticPine, it is entirely possible that LEGO Town got too big, and the planning committee had to splinter off and LEGO Town is a short 10194 ride from LEGO City. And that Bricksburg is actually a parable of what not to do...

Gravatar
By in United States,

Don't forget its variety of restaurants and world-famous coffee shops on every corner! Every working citizen of Lego City enjoys a mug of their favorite piping-hot morning beverage!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I don't know, this looks suspiciously like tourist propaganda to me, in my experience lego city, for all the geographic diversity and interesting things to do, is an incredibly dangerous city. Crime is obviously rife if the size of the police force and coastguard are anything to go by. Then there is the large and always busy fire department. You might love it but it's too much for me which is why the wife and I moved to Heartlake. Everything is calmer here and most of the cases at the hospital are people who have injured themselves engaging in the active lifestyle Heartlake is famed for. The food here is better too. No contest, ill take Heartlake for the quiet life.

Gravatar
By in United States,

The name City never seemed fitting as theme mostly covers diverse ecosystems, and then when Lego releases town houses and store fronts that are designed for a city, they are released under the Creator line.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@dambrilliant
Yeah, but in heartlake, there's only go-kart racing. In Lego city, there's F1, MotoGP, endurance racing, special stage rallying (or maybe rallycross) and rally raid.

Gravatar
By in Hungary,

Lego city is like Springfield, where geography varies based on the plot in the series.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Heartlake or Lego City real estate is often sedate suburban life. Ninjago City is beautiful but so densely packed I could never afford rent. Tattoine is nothing but cantinas and sandcrawlers. Bricksburg was a totalitarian state that is currently undergoing economic collapse due to ravaging attacks from the Systar System. Don't get me started on that one mountain that split down the middle with a human robot war going on around it...

Personally I find residence in Ko-Koro to be exciting. 6' of snow every ski season, dangerous Rahi prowling the snow fields, and the only way to get out of dodge is via a ski lift that passes over a lava lake on route to Ta-Koro. Constant excitement and incredible sense of solitude all in one location!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Can anyone make a map of the lego world and lego city?

Gravatar
By in United States,

Wonderful article! Though, if I am reading the plinth in 60026 correctly (1132), it's roots run back at least to the early twelfth century, and the city will be celebrating 890 years in short order!

Maybe we'll get a book... "890 Years of Fire and Crime"

Gravatar
By in France,

I love it :) guiding us tourists having a Lego city and surrounds tour. Thank you for this great idea!

Gravatar
By in Canada,

For those extolling the virtues of Heartlake, I’ll also note that it’s almost as geographically diverse, what with jungle and a ski resort nearby. We’ve yet to get desert, but I expect there are some areas that haven’t been explored thoroughly yet. And not a police officer in sight!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Great article. XD

Hope to see more like it in the future.

Gravatar
By in United States,

sorry about the repeat comments AllanSmith, my computer glitched

Gravatar
By in United States,

Don't be silly--clearly the Arctic Expedition drove over land the several thousand miles to the arctic.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Thank you for the article, very nice indeed!

But where would you put the Winter Village and the Modular Buildings? Aren't they also part of the City universe? At least to me these and the Speed Champions are also part of the City sub theme, all others theme are not really connected, at least to me.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Evidently there are no trains in Lego City anymore, they were the backbone of the transportation infrastructure for years in Lego City but alas they have evidently run their course as a viable transportation option.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@cody6268 maybe it's lego mega-city one!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Awesome article, thanks! Everyone in the comments saying City isn't based on a real place have obviously never been to Seattle. ;) Volcanoes, rain forest, beach, port & marina, coast guard, ferries, skiing, just a few bridges, and you don't even have to stretch the imagination too much to fit in a little swamp or arctic.

Gravatar
By in Puerto Rico,

I always interpreted "LEGO City" as referring to the general concept of a city, rather than as the name of a particular location. Interesting article either way.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@MeganL: No police in the sets so far, but in the TV series on Netflix Olivia's mom is a police officer for the city (a mounted police officer, no less!)

@Yamaki: Those sets are all part of the Creator Expert theme, not the City theme proper, so their inclusion in Lego City proper is slightly less indisputable. Santa DOES appear in the City Advent Calendars, but I think his home is already covered in the article—the North Pole is in the arctic, after all!

Gravatar
By in United States,

@dambrilliant: In fairness, the LEGO City coast guard seems to be a more European-style search and rescue organization, rather than an American-style law enforcement/military organization.

Gravatar
By in Australia,

Ah, these comments ...

I kinda love the idea of flexible geography. Terrain that's variable, depending on plot-relevance.

But I admit, I was kind of sad to see a distinction between City and Town, and was expecting some of those beautiful Town sets from the 80s and 90s. Lego Town seems a nicer place to live anyway. There's police but far less criminals, and a lovely railway network to boot.

Gravatar
By in United States,

So who's actually going to create a map of this place? Is it basically going to look like the island of Mata Nui?

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@dambrilliant, I could never move from City to Heartlake. Call me racist, but I prefer people who are short and yellow.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

I am more inclined to believe the arctic areas are really the high mountain plateau just beyond mt cluchmore, and at close to 20,000 feet, snow can be seen year round. As for the desert, that is the south end of town, where the beach passes the airport.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

By the way, the article makes no mention of the oppression of the people living in LEGO City. Its a police state!

Gravatar
By in Australia,

You forgot to mention the underwater ecosystem and sunken ships being explored by the LEGO City scientists and the love that the citizens of LEGO City have for going out in caravans and RVs.

Gravatar
By in Venezuela,

Good to know that the Mutant Dino apocalypse of 2010 was averted entirely. That would've been quite the setback.

Gravatar
By in Norway,

As I see it the Expert sets represents the actual old downtown district, centered around the crossing between Modular Ave and Market St, nearby is the historic parts of town with the medieval market and the hidden-away Diagon alley. What's called "City" nowadays is nothing but a crummy "business park" where the road to the airport crosses the highway, and not a place you go unless you absolutely have to. And while City is supposed to feature a large number of high-rises they seems to be like a fata morgana, as no-one has ever seen them close up.

Gravatar
By in United States,

At the rate that it is growing, we'll all need a multi-pass in order to see all of Lego City.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Very entertaining article. Thank you!

Gravatar
By in United States,

A city made up of 25 police stations, 25 fire stations, how many coast guard areas. A city with a police car in every street. But no schools and other vital city requirements. Yeah, great "city".

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Looks like Randall Munroe would feel himself at home in LEGO City: https://xkcd.com/1472/

The abundance and yearly variety of police and fire stations, and construction equipment is obviously due to all of the catastrophes and monster attacks LEGO City has to endure and rebuild from. There have been Dinos, Aliens, Robots, Martians, super-powered criminals, rock monsters, stomping parents, little siblings, etc.

Gravatar
By in Latvia,

I love this article! I was always interested how could it be that the city is visible from both the Arctic and the Jungle? Maybe the LEGO planet is smaller than our Earth?) Anyways, could you write more miscellaneous humorous articles?

Gravatar
By in Norway,

This article made my day! Thanks a lot!

Gravatar
By in Greece,

What a great article! We want more of these "sum-ups"

Gravatar
By in Singapore,

Wow I like how one area is being linked to another! Awesome post!

I think there's one theme missing though: the deep sea explorer theme which is the 2nd picture from the left in the series of 5 (:

Gravatar
By in France,

Lego needs to change the name to Geopolis!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@Darth Studhilus Or maybe it's larger so the horizon is just further away and the skyscrapers are absolutely gargantuan in size.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

@ssgdave: funny you should mention the disappearance of trains in LEGO City versus the olden days.

This seems to coincide with TLG focusing its source material upon mainly US centric stuff (with their well-known disdain for trains as a transportation medium), whereas in the Golden LEGO Age of the Eighties and Nineties, European cities and towns (with their abundance of train-based public transport) used to be the focus as source material.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

So, seeing the conversations about the crime rate, I thought I'd take a look through the yearly records and see the truth behind to the myth that criminal activity was on the increase in Lego City. My findings (judged by the number of times criminals appeared in sets (including polybags) in any of these years) are as follows; though I may have missed any instances that weren't categorised under a police subtheme.

The first visible criminals in Lego Town appeared in 1993; and even then, only one was ever recorded. I begin my research from this point (missing years being the ones where no crime was recorded):

1993 - one instance of crime.
1995 - one instance.
1996 - one instance.
1998 - one instance.
2002 - one instance in Lego City; although the neighbouring Lego Island saw an explosion of eight instances in this year.
2003 - no instances in Lego City; one instance on the Lego Island as their main criminal remained at large, though not very active.
2005 - two instances; the first noticeable crime increase in Lego City.
2006 - two instances.
2008 - four instances.
2011 - nine instances.
2012 - eight instances.
2013 - six instances.
2014 - *seventeen* instances, the greatest number recorded to date.
2015 - twelve instances.
2016 - fourteen instances.
2017 - fifteen instances.
2018 - twelve instances.
2019 - nine instances.

We may be seeing a slight decrease in crime rates these last few years, down from their peak in 2014, though we have yet to reach the much safe pre-2011 levels. The rumours, therefore, are true; Lego City, unfortunately, remains a dangerous place for the time being.

Gravatar
By in United States,

All you people with your plentiful natural resources will bow before the Empire. Your Mar Mission crystals, volcanic crystals and ice crystals will be very well taken for Imperial projects and the treasures you found on the jungle will be used for monetary expansion as per the agreements in the Lego City foundation codes: we will pay for your development and continued susbstainment provided that you supply the Empire with: food, gold, minerals and buildimg blocks for our expansion (I always said there were a lot of yellow faces in the early days of the Empire).

Gravatar
By in United States,

@cody6268 No it isn't. It's right next Springfield. ;)

Gravatar
By in Spain,

Nice article!
Anyway, thinking that Lego City is just one city is like supposing that all Castle sets are located in the same County

Gravatar
By in United States,

@xboxtravis7992, The war on the split mountain now went to the jungle near the base of it (mountain). Since the war moved down there, things have been relatively peaceful.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

LEGO City is actually Mega City 1, before the apocalypse.

Damn! Now I want a Judge Dredd minifigure.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Not to be that nit picky, but I always assumed that the Jungle, Arctic And similar more exotic locales involved explorers FROM LEGO City traveling the LEGO world to bring back findings TO LEGO City. If you see a police or fire specialty tasked to the environment it is definitely local to the City.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Riding forth, the company catches glimpse of a distant skyline accompanied by trumpets and fanfare:

"LEGO City! LEGO City! LEGO City!

It's only a model."

Gravatar
By in United States,

@AustinPowers: Thank you for seeing the forest through the trees. The other four paragraphs of that post have been locked away with original Coca-Cola formula and the Original Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

But, the taxes!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Maybe they should rename the brand to ''Lego Nation'' Since It's clearly a Country not a ''City.''

I already have an idea of which it could be given it's diverse geographical landscape.

Which country has beaches, a large presence in Space, a large cost guard/navy (whatever the regional equivalent would be) deserts, arctic regions, a questionable crime rate, has lots of mineral resources, a large police force, tons of medical workers, lots of explorers, large forests (it has no jungle but all of the Lego jungle animals live in this country)

;)

Gravatar
By in Netherlands,

There should be a LEGO City movie imo. Plenty of space for storytelling and exciting adventures!

Gravatar
By in United States,

@Zordboy: I'm not really sure Town was all that different than City other than having less focus on jobs outside of the main populated areas and more houses (admittedly, I understand people missing the latter).

And funnily enough, while there used to be more train sets, an odd quirk of LEGO branding in the 80s and 90s is that train-related sets (and for many years, floating boat sets as well) were treated as separate themes entirely, rather than as part of LEGO Town.

I suppose that this was perhaps a holdover from the pre-minifigure days, when there was less to tie the play experiences of a train set, boat set, or town set together with one another besides the shared building system, so they were categorized more by what type of play they were designed for than by their setting.

What's more, I was recently struck by curiosity and began working on a spreadsheet seeing how train sets compare in the 4.5v/12v era (from the introduction of the minifigure onward), the 9V era, and the RC era.

I was struck by how little the number of train models has changed when you compare based on the actual quantity of builds instead of just the number of sets. Come to find out, the actual number of train hasn't changed nearly as much as a lot of people seem to think — they just tend to be bundled together into full trains or layouts rather than individual cars/wagons, locomotives, and trackside structures, and split across more themes.

Here's my spreadsheet so far if you see anything I've missed: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AEz8CBXgGJv3F6sWYuhSEeLEMz1NZolMybkefF7PZwk/edit?usp=sharing

@Lego4366: While it might not feel entirely accurate anymore, I think LEGO would generally be reluctant to change the name of a theme that's become one of their most popular and widely recognized.

They made that mistake in the early 2000s when they changed "Duplo" to "Explore". Come to find out, people's respect and trust people had for the Duplo theme was linked in their minds with the brand name — change the brand name to something unfamiliar and people had more trouble linking it with that reputation for quality.

And anyhow, I don't think it's strictly necessary that a theme name describe everything that appears within a theme. After all, LEGO Castle encompasses much more than just castles, LEGO Pirates encompasses much more than just pirates, and as described above, LEGO Trains contained more than just trains.

In a lot of ways, the theme name can perhaps be better understood as the focal point/epicenter that the rest of the theme's subject matter radiates from, not as the full extent or scope of the theme's contents.

Gravatar
By in United States,

It could be that Lego City resides on the legendary island of Mata Nui. That would explain its geographical diversity close to one location.

Gravatar
By in United States,

There are three complete videogame depictions of LEGO City I'm aware of - The games on the website Time to Build (2006, updated through 2008) and The Robot Chronicles (2009) and of course the big game LEGO City Undercover and the 3ds prequel in 2013, and the former's 2017 port off the Wii U.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@SirZed Yup, he probably would.

Also, perhaps LEGO Earth is just very small, thus allowing the city to be viewable from almost anywhere.

Gravatar
By in United States,

noice

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

An important consideration you miss out is the road layout. For every small straight road section, there is a crossroads (7280) with four zebra crossings. And many curves and T-junctions. Driving in LEGO City must be a nightmare.

But the real problem seems to be where people live, as there are so few dwellings. The people must all live in the multiple caravans and the occasional tents that come in City sets. It seems LEGO City is really one big trailer park.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Well, there's no suggestion that either Heartlake's ski resorts nor the Winter Village have year-round snow. Both seem to be seasonal resorts. Although around Heartlake the onset of winter seems to be sudden and catastrophic with no apparent mild spring or autumn transition. And without regular care packages over the advent period the citizens would be poorly prepared for the winter months.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

A great, fun article. Thanks.

The next step of course is the history, to show how Legoland became Town, then LEGOLAND Town and eventually LEGO City!

Gravatar
By in Australia,

Quite possibly the best article on Brickset. Ever!

After reading this I'm convinced that LEGO City should be twinned with Springfield.

Gravatar
By in United States,

From earlier posting by BionicleJedi for instances for criminals by year

...
2015 - twelve instances.
2016 - fourteen instances.
2017 - fifteen instances.
2018 - twelve instances.
2019 - nine instances.

This should be converted to % of sets for released year to get a more accurate snapshot of LEGO City Crime as a whole.

For example, for 2018 there are 47 City locations (this includes small samples such as Hot Dog stand and so forth). This makes an incredible 25% of criminal activity in those 47 locations.

Eliminating small "sets" and only counting those with 40 pieces or more: total is 36 which makes percentage 33%! Surely sets like this hide the rampant crime stats: https://brickset.com/sets/951806-1/Miner

SELECT * FROM Sets
WHERE (Pieces > 40) AND (YearFrom = 2018) AND (Theme = 'City')
ORDER BY SortKey ASC

Thank goodness criminals don't like the Artic.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@AustinPowers:
I wouldn't call it disdain so much as that trains just aren't economically viable in the US. European cities tend to be tightly packed due to dating back much earlier than invention of the automobile, whereas in the US there aren't many cities like that. NYC is the one clear exception, as space is at such a premium there that some condo owners have reportedly sold off their associated parking spaces for $1 million. Chicago has the El, but for all the many times I've been there I've never once felt like I needed to find a place to dump my car. Once you get down to a city the size of Detroit, there's just too much sprawl for a subway system to be feasible. NYC is under 500 square miles (with just over 300 of that being land), and is pushing 8.5 million residents. Detroit, on the other hand, has about half as much land, but is dropping steadily in population with less than 700,000 residents at the moment. If you count the entire Metro Detroit area, it's nearly 4000 square miles and still less than half the population of NYC. That means that for every person in Metro Detroit, there would be 27 more standing beside them in New York. Put in another perspective, or every packed subway car in NYC, there'd be a single passenger in Metro Detroit.

Return to home page »