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I've got a problem with stable housing.

When I first build an area, then new couples move into the houses, so you only need N/2 (where N is the number of useful jobs) houses. Then you have a local food supply for N people and you're done. But as time goes on, this becomes distorted- spouses die, for example, in a famine that was totally not my fault.

But now you have N jobs, but only N/2 people live in the village, alone without children. So unless you want your people to trek literally all the way across the biggest map size (which is what I had), you have to make more houses.

But when they die, and young people move in, you end up with way more people and available workers than you need or can feed, so the population over-grows and you get a famine and the population crashes.

You could manage this problem if you could stagger the stages to occur in a couple houses at a time- that way one house being 80-year-old widow only can be countered by another house being fresh young couple. But you can't seem to stagger them and the villager intelligence does not seem to spread them out appropriately.

How can I avoid this boom-and-bust cycle?

Edit:

Not to mention that if you want to build a new structure, the builders need to live locally, but once it's done, they don't, which introduces more temporary but potentially severe housing pressure and often seems to lead to severe delays in constructing new structures even if you have all the resources available and proximate. Labourers harvesting nearby resources such as stone or iron also seem to have a similar problem.

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I think you answered your own question - stagger building the houses. Also, regarding walking across the map to their jobs, I think the villagers re-organize themselves to live as close as possible to their jobs. –  walrus helmet Feb 23 at 23:48
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They only do that if there's sufficient housing locally, which is problematic for the reasons outlined in the question. A young couple with children won't displace a single widow. Also, you can't stagger building the houses if their occupants aren't of staggered age, unless you're happy with the buildings flat out not working properly whilst waiting for the latest batch to age. Plus, this would involve micromanaging the ages of the occupants of hundreds of houses manually- not really a fun solution. –  DeadMG Feb 23 at 23:58
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Then I guess the best solution is to way overdevelop your food supply, so population booms don't lead to starvation. –  walrus helmet Feb 24 at 0:09
    
Developing your food supply requires people to do work, which means they need houses. IME building more food supply is practically the cause of the problem, not the solution. Growing your food supply only works as long as you're still growing your population, so the extra people from building the houses isn't a big deal. It can't sustain your existing population. –  DeadMG Feb 24 at 0:12

2 Answers 2

Managing population fluctuations, both local and city-wide, is one of the biggest challenges of Banished. But with the right technique, it isn't one which can't be overcome.

When you need some household to migrate to another location, build a new house for them in the new location and just before the new house is finished, order their old house to get removed. They will then become homeless and migrate to the new house the moment it is finished.

Single households are in fact quite handy in this regard, because they give you a higher flexibility (you can move a single worker and don't have to move two at the same time). The downside is, of course, that more houses require more resources to build and more fuel to keep warm.

As a result of population fluctuations you will soon notice that workers who used to live close to their jobs will switch jobs and have suddenly a new job which is far more remote. To solve this issue you should regularly (every couple years) unassign all jobs by making everyone laborers and then reassign the desired number of workers to each occupation, starting with those where you consider proximity most critical. When you add a worker to an occupation, the laborer closest to an open job of that occupation will be converted, so by reassigning regularly you can re-optimize who does which job.

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Isn't changing your villager's jobs often one of the things that makes their happiness decline? Though I suppose maybe every year or two is not considered Often. –  James Feb 25 at 18:47
    
So what you're basically suggesting is that in a town of a thousand citizens, I should micro-manage every single one of them? –  DeadMG Feb 25 at 19:24
    
@DeadMG welcome to banished :-) –  Ramhound Feb 26 at 2:48
    
@James I never noticed anything like that. Do you have a source to back up that claim? –  Philipp Feb 26 at 10:26
    
@Philipp gaming.stackexchange.com/a/157319/8581 <=- Just read it on an answer on this site. I checked out a wiki and changing jobs is not listed as an alteration of happiness one way or another. So its just hearsay at this point in time. –  James Feb 26 at 18:43
  • Pause.
  • Set builders to 0.
  • Set all houses to demolish.
  • Unpause.
  • Everyone becomes homeless.
  • Un-demolish you house's one by one.

I haven't actually tried it but that might work.

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