Cities that could have been much larger

What are some examples of cities that have all the necessary resources, location etc. to be a major city, but, for whatever reason, never developed into one? They don't necessarily have to be small towns right now, just places that could have been much larger if history had gone differently. PODs for either before or after 1900 work.
 
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Berlin if World War II and the division of the city on East/West lines doesn't happen, making it the hub of Central Europe's economy and culture.

Vienna if the Austro-Hungarian Empire doesn't fall. The population, I believe, has remained fairly steady since the end of World War I.
 
Vienna if the Austro-Hungarian Empire doesn't fall. The population, I believe, has remained fairly steady since the end of World War I.
And other cities in the Empire such as Prague, Lemberg, and Trieste.

And as large as many cities in China are right now (even larger than some of the smaller European countries), they could have been even larger had the Cultural Revolution and the One-Child Policy not been implemented. Also, Pyongyang and Kaesong (though Kaesong may eventually be considered a suburb of Seoul in a Unified Korea, or had it remained in the South.)
 
Turku could be bigger than Helsinki is currently if it hadn’t burned down, as the latter would not probably have been built at all. It would have had a large economic and academic lead to any other city at the time of independence, would have been closest to Stockholm, and after the loss of Viipuri, the ‘third city’ at the time, it would only have Tampere to compete against.

What are some other alternative capitals?
 
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How about Baghdad? And I am not talking about the drop in population from the Iraq war but from the Mongols sack of the city in 1401. It was the modern cosmopolitan hub of the world at the time, what we would consider London to be today. The world leader in education, science and math. The city lost 80 % of it's population and it's irrigation canals were destroyed beyond repair. One could not think of a more tragic destruction of a major city.
 
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Warsaw could maybe be bigger. I remember reading somewhere that when Germany besieged the city in 1939 that they bombed the city so hard that around 80% of it was destroyed, pretty crazy. I also assume not being under Soviet management for over 40 years could do some good for the city. Say a more confident Allies make a push into Germany at the beginning of the war and take out Germany as they're too split over two fronts with their army.
 
"For example, the Ohio cities of Sandusky and Toledo momentarily posed a threat to Cleveland and Detroit. Located on a large protected bay, Sandusky was, according to one local booster, 'the most eligible point in the whole Northwest for a great commercial city' and a leading contender for the northern terminus of the Ohio Canal. Instead, in what Sandusky residents viewed as 'the most stupendous fraud perpetrated,' Ohio's legislators named Cleveland as the outlet for the waterway. Years later business leaders in the angry city were still complaining of 'the partiality and blindness of early state legislation' which 'retarded the wise designs of nature, by building up rivals.'..." https://books.google.com/books?id=cHvo-Nr4bFkC&pg=PA21
 
The US could’ve manipulated immigration by fixing any city on the Atlantic coast as it’s one official entrepôt. NYC has a lot of natural advantages, but there are plenty of scenarios where the US government might make weird decisions over immigration. Pick a port and watch it grow.
 
Plenty of cities in the American South could have been larger in the absence of the civil war. Move some rail heads around and different cities in the Midwest get substantially larger. If DC is somehow limited from developing a substantial population of its own then Baltimore, or another nearby city, could get a lot bigger. If the US controls portions of OTL Canadian territory then cities which are near the border today could be larger, as they'd be within the US and subject to the population increasing factors therein.

Harare/Salisbury could be larger if the Mugabe government doesn't take control and crash the economy of the country. Same could be said of cities like Luanda in Angola, which if you avoid that country's conflicts could see earlier than OTL expansion.
 
Consider this one. Between Ft. Madison and Keokuk, Iowa, the Mississippi River fell sharply through a series of rapids known as the Des Moines Rapids. In 1839, Joseph Smith brought the Mormons there to settle the region that became the City of Nauvoo, Illinois. The city flourished, but there were conflicts. One issue was that a source of income for Nauvoo was to partly unload river boats and portage the cargo around the rapids so the boats would draft less water as they passed over the rapids. The Mormons moved on after 1844. Locks were eventually built at the rapids.

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroads was named after anchor points on the River; Burlington, IA north of the rapids and Quincy, IL to the south. Finally, in 1913, the Keokuk Dam was built to tame the river. With a 37-foot fall, its hydroelectric plant produces 142 MW. Initially some was transmitted all the way to St. Louis because local demand was limited. Now, is this a good place for a city and transportation hub? Look at the Ohio River, as Louisville, Kentucky was built at a point where the river fell in elevation.

So, make changes in 1844. Birgham Young and the Mormons stay in Nauvoo. The community grows. Can it become as large as the St. Louis area or Minneapolis-St. Paul? Would it grow at the expense of Quad Cities and other communities? What if there is no Mormon Trail or Salt Lake City?
 
So, make changes in 1844. Birgham Young and the Mormons stay in Nauvoo. The community grows. Can it become as large as the St. Louis area or Minneapolis-St. Paul? Would it grow at the expense of Quad Cities and other communities? What if there is no Mormon Trail or Salt Lake City?
Alot depends on just how much authority the Later Day Saints will try to gain in those communities where they establish themselves for the Church, since if they go with too heavy a hand it could easily cause bussiness and settlers to shy away. Looking at your St. Louis example, a Nauvoo that ended up with a culture fairly adverse to booze probably won't attract the influx of German settlers that helped in the development of that city, and there's the question of what outlying territories they could pull into their "economic sphere" of sorts to build up industry processings those resource. The Twin Cities, for example, had the advantage of being first a processing point for the timbering coming from up North and than was the natural rail hub for grain destined to be shipped down the Mississippi, and thanks to the Falls was in the perfect position to turn that into becoming the Flour Milling Capital of the World in the late 19th/early20th century. Go much further NOrth from Nauvoo and you're just better off hooking into Chicago.
 
City-creation is a thing of mine... I'm a former seasoned Caesar player!

Not strictly a city, more a town, but still, here in the United Kingdom using an example near me:

Looking at some point during 1974 or the 1990s as a POD:

In OTL, Wigan moved from Lancashire and into Greater Manchester from 1 April 1974 to form the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan (or as the road signs refer to it, "Welcome to Wigan Borough", with the passing of the Local Government Act 1972 on 26 October 1972.
Bolton also moved from Lancashire, creating the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton.

Bury moved from Lancashire into Greater Manchester, creating the Metropolitan Borough of Bury.

WI, in an ATL, Wigan and Bolton formed one larger metropolitan borough, perhaps in the 1990s or late 2000s, replacing both separate boroughs with one merged one?

Or alternately, in the ATL, Wigan, Bolton and Bury merged into one cohesive borough (not sure what to name it, "Wigbolbury" ?? Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Bolton & Bury ??)

What effect could this have on local politics? (not that I understand much about that, but also day-to-day stuff would be impacted, NHS services, policing etc. ?)

In the U.S. what size town would these towns be equivalent to?
 
Harare/Salisbury could be larger if the Mugabe government doesn't take control and crash the economy of the country. Same could be said of cities like Luanda in Angola, which if you avoid that country's conflicts could see earlier than OTL expansion.
I’d say this is doubtful as even during the worst of the Zimbabwean economic crash in 2008 or so people were still moving to Harare from the rural areas to try and hustle some sort of living. One thing Sekuru Bob did that did have an impact on the growth of Harare was Operation Murambatsvina which cleared all the informal settlements (by razing them to the ground, sometimes with people still inside) and it also affected properly built houses that didn’t have correct planning permissions (Zimbabwe still uses 1950’s British Planning Laws which are totally unsuitable for a modern African City).
 
The Twin Cities, for example, had the advantage of being first a processing point for the timbering coming from up North and than was the natural rail hub for grain destined to be shipped down the Mississippi, and thanks to the Falls was in the perfect position to turn that into becoming the Flour Milling Capital of the World in the late 19th/early20th century. Go much further NOrth from Nauvoo and you're just better off hooking into Chicago.
Chicago represents the southwest corner of the Great Lakes industrial belt. It is well-linked by rail to the Mississippi River communities. Quincy, Illinois is now home to the largest soybean milling operation in North America, run by ADM. Nauvoo and Quincy might work the way Cedar Rapids and Waterloo do in Iowa, cities close enough to be in the same media market but still distinct. Maybe it doesn’t get a million people, but even half that would be a substantial difference.
 
I’d say this is doubtful as even during the worst of the Zimbabwean economic crash in 2008 or so people were still moving to Harare from the rural areas to try and hustle some sort of living.
Indeed instability and economic crisis often cause cities to grow, since people migrate to towns to find jobs or the countryside is unsafe.
 
Though the current city of Niagara Falls NY is doing better under a more competent administration, I would argue that no other municipality has been more ineptly run in the past 50 years at least in North America. Under more competent leadership it should be able to do much better. For much of it's early history it was far more populous than it's sister on the Canadian side. Not tearing down the historical downtown without a plan for something to replace it would be a good start.

Obviously there would need to be some demolition, and given the pressures of the time it would be hard to avoid all the mistakes Niagara Falls made. But with a more competent administration, the city would certainly have more to go on than it does now. Perhaps a good POD would be the Love Canal toxic chemical dump being brought to public attention earlier. In addition to preventing a disaster which ruined the city's reputation, this event results in a far more active civic population that is able to curb corruption and the administration's awful decisions. The preservation of most of the historic downtown coupled with an alternate placement of the convention center, highway, and Wintergarden would give the city a much stronger foundation to build upon.

While we're speaking about Western NY, Buffalo was once considered as a potential hub for the North American auto industry instead of Detroit.
 
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Although St. Louis is big, obviously, it could potentially have become much larger, even conceivably replacing Chicago to become America's big Midwestern city. It probably had the best chances out of all of the various contenders for the title, owing to its preexisting fortunes. Of course, you could probably conceive scenarios where just about any major city in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, or Wisconsin replaced Chicago, too.

In Houston, you often hear about Galveston potentially having become much bigger if it wasn't for the 1900 hurricane, but I doubt it. Not only were there plenty of later hurricanes that pounded the place, the hurricane issue itself had less to do with Galveston's fall than with the shortage of available land on the island (even if it were fully developed it couldn't reasonably hold more than a few hundred thousand people) and Houston's better rail links, as well as with the big shift to oil as the main industry instead of cotton. And most of that oil was located on the mainland instead of out at sea (at least at first), thus privileging a mainland port over an island one.
 
Saint-Petersburg could have remained the largest city of Russia had it not being depopulated twice in 20th century, first during RCW when the population fell from 2.5 million to 740 thousand during 1917-1920, which took 20 years to recover from, and later during the Blockade when it fell from 3 million down to 550 thousand and took another 20 years to recover from.
 
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