I had a city with 25000 citizens, but it started to decline. As you can see on the screenshot there are a lot of empty spaces. There used to be building along those roads.

Shrunken OpenTTD city

City center with abandoned spots

To prevent the decline I added bus routes within the city. According to the OpenTTD wiki that's a way to increase town sizes:

A bus with one passenger from the other side of town would have the same effect on growth as a large train full of passengers from the other end of the map. source: wiki.openttd.org

But the city still shrinks. Does somebody know how to prevent this?

  • I can't tell if you've done it here, but building something on the square below the town's name will cause it to slowly die off. This is because the central square must always be a bit of road, and the town grows outwards from it.
    – KingJ
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 11:31
  • I added a screenshot with transparent houses. Its not very clear whether or not the city name is above a road tile, but I assume it is. I didn't change or build that road, the owner is Hondham. Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 23:02
  • 1
    Can you try moving the Hondham bus stop to a different square and see what happens? Currently, it's on the central square under the name.
    – KingJ
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 10:27
  • I removed the busstop and the city immediately starts to grow. I will run it for one hour with fast forward on to check if the city is really growing. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 20:59
  • That's good to hear, i'll post this as the answer.
    – KingJ
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 6:54

1 Answer 1


It looks like your bus stop is on the city's central tile - the tile directly under the city name. This tile is the city's "seed tile" - the city grows outwards from there. When a player-owned building such as a bus stop, train station etc is placed on the seed tile, the city is unable to spawn new buildings and will slowly die off.

Try moving the bus stop to an adjacent square and see if the city starts to regrow again.

  • 4
    It works! The size is over 13000 currently. Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 15:33
  • By the way, another way to get the same effect is when your building newGRF doesn't have any buildings defined for a particular city zone. The city will build an empty square instead of a building. This tends to happen when using a very early starting year with some building sets.
    – aphid
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 15:41

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