Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Briana, a student:

Well I have to create a three dimensional city for a geometry project and it requires us to use precise scal factor and well we want to build a medium sized city but our teacher said that If we make or buildings to high our houses would look like super small compared to the tall building were trying to figure out if we were to build a medium sized city what scale factor should we use to make the houses big enough to see and design?

I would recommend doing a few 'models' in Google Sketch-Up and seeing what they look like:

They do have some models of towns linked from their front page - and you can use that information as well.
This will give you a much better sense of the scaling, both horizontally and vertically.

I anticipate that it will not be possible to do a medium sized city with such scaling - but it may be possible either to do a sector of the city, or a smaller town.

Walter Whiteley


Hi Briana,

You may wish to determine the height of the tallest building in your city and compare it to an "average" size house. Whatever scale you end up choosing, this ratio will stay the same (provided you make an accurate scale model).
For instance, If the tallest building is 100 metres tall and the average house is say 10 metres then the ratio is 100:10 or 10:1, in other words your model of the tallest building will be 10 times bigger than the house.
So, if you made the tallest building 10 inches tall, then your house would be 1 inch tall.


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