The Dutch city of Roermond, as it might have looked on the morning of May 1st 1700 A.D., by Mr. Wim Luinge. A perfectly defined human scaled medieval city (site occupied since prehistoric times) with a population of 6000 at 0.37 square miles (pop. density same as London 1990).
Contrary to popular opinion, medieval towns were far from the overcrowded filthy hell holes as they are portrayed in modern media. The city is full of gardens and meadows: every house grows vegetables, most keep animals, herb gardens. There's even ponds for aquaculture, fishing.
The number of individual homes and houses have not changed much from the early 13th century to the early 21st century, but instead of gardens and orchards the cities of today prefers tarmac, carparks, streets and access roads.
Look at how the defensive city walls sharply define the city: "to here, but no further!", letting the city be a city and leaving the countryside to remain countryside, for the benefit of everyone. There is no sprawl here. The city is free to develop a culture of its own.
The city only became part of the Netherlands in 1867, it is still culturally part of Limburg, and the majority language of the city is still Limburgish, and with a unique Roermondian dialect.
In the middle of the city you will find a convent, the heart of the city, and the Munsterkirk, which celebrates their 800th anniversary in 2020. Here is Wim Luinge's fantastic reconstruction of how it would have looked in 1775, when the city was formally Austrian.
The convent/church are expertly defined with walls separating them from the bustling city outside, ample space to grow, process, enough to feed itself and the city's poor. Note how the gates provide clear and dignified access to the convent and the gardens: Gravitas et levitas.
A detail that hits me right in the heart: this lovely dovecote in the center of the fields just as the doves are released in the morning.
For more on dovecotes, one of the most overlooked and most brilliant of agricultural buildings, see this thread.
In 2019 the old medieval city of Roermond has a population of 5285, a slight decrease from 1700, and most people live in rented apartments. The city is a major tourist attraction with over 1 million visitors a year. That is 190 ppl for each inhabitant. A city still under siege...
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