First of all. Let me thank you for all the great stuff you’ve done so far!
That being said, I propose you to focus on a problem I find annoying. You know… sometimes we get impatient to build, and don’t fully go deeply into the subject. It often results in good looking builds, but with a lack of depth and credibility.
To me, it’s exactly what happened with Sindar Setllements (villages like Tirannui, Barad Ethir, etc…), which to my mind are good but not totally satisfying… When I go there, I just see a collection of houses, built side by side. I don’t know why they are here, who inhabit them, why all of a sudden a village emerges from the wilderness, and why they are so spaced out… etc.
I’m not talking about Sindar architecture at all, which is very cool and diverse by now, nor the decision of having some abandonned. I’m not talking either about all project leaders’ plans, because to me the problem is situated within backward conceptualisation : the urbanism and the organisation of a village should be based on the way that the elves (here Sindar) live. It sounds obvious, and maybe a lot of things have already been discussed. But I think that making a topic could be a good way to gather information and set everything clear.
Now my propositions and thoughts :
(me thinking -->:triumph:)
##1. Type of settlement
I see two possibilities for Sindar settlements (the point here is to see what could fit better with elves ; maybe both can coexist, or we can combine them) :
Self-sufficient villages : with farms, craftsmen, carpenter, etc., they are like little towns, and barely import nothing from other villages. Already built villages seem to fit this category. The questions are : why did these elves leave major towns and built their own villages? Were they here before the construction of the Heavens? Did they want to separate from the others for a reason? Are they part of a clan, or a guild that claimed this particular place? etc.
more specialised settlements : like farming villages, fisher towns, observatories, clan mansions, and others. I want to see more settlement dedicated to a special house or wise person, a bit like Elrond’s Imladris, but of lesser importance. Also notice that elves have some veneration for nature (although they are not animists nor pantheists), and some place for season-related events can be planed, like solstice and harvest festivals sites for instance.
##2. Organisation of the village
If I had to make one criticism about the actual villages’ organisation, it’s the lack of cohesion. They look like they have ben made by individualist people, leaving in their individual houses and eating their individual food. Ok, they are not dwarves, but each village is inhabited by a particular house/family, at least people who had decided to live together during centuries. Like a flower that organises its petals arround a kernel, I propose to add in every village one special location (or maybe more) where people can gather, eat, recite poetry or make anouncements. This can be a square, a meeting hall, a garden, etc. It should be placed so it is the most noticeable location of the village, a place where the inhabitants want to go after labor, take some good time together, celabrate the beauty of the Creation and call back the old myths.
##3. Organisation of the territory
As I said above I have a problem with the location of the villages as it is right now. They seem really far one from another (with approximately the same distance), and I cannot understand why.
Even though I know that you won’t change the location of the villages, I think it would be good to discuss it, at least for future implementations.
Spaced county towns, that “administrate” a single region / estate / domain, give it the name you want…
Concentrical colonisation : the heart of the land being the major town (here Harlond), and the more you go up to it the more density of population you will find.
Colonisation followind the roads : most of the settlements are located near to the roads, which are like great arteries that spread accross the land. The more you stray from them the less settlements you will encounter.
This post is not exhaustive. If you have more ideas – or if you want to extend the lists above – don’t be shy. I would be very happy if you reply, especially if you disagree! Also, I may have done mistakes that contradict Tolkien’s vision… So if you are more informed than me in this matter, a quote is worth better than a thousand words.
Thank you for reading.
PS: Maybe I will illustrate the topic later, in order to make it more clear and precise.