After reading through your question several times, and gaining an
understanding of the magnitude of what you are asking, I was tempted
to unlock it, and let another Researcher tackle it, but the very
intriguing nature of what you are proposing kept me from doing so. If
I understand your project, the ultimate deliverable here would be
something between a feasibility study (probably even a pre-feasibility
study) and a customized city-planning handbook, with all peripheral
legal and political ramifications considered. That is a staggering
The breadth of what you are seeking, the model that Google Answers
works under, and the decision level at which you seem to be right now,
would suggest that you consider breaking your project down, and asking
your question(s) in phases, with the answers to your initial questions
dictating the direction of subsequent queries. For instance, you
cannot answer: Would it be illegal for a new town or community to
create a voucher system for such things as education, health care, and
safety from crime/security?, until you have a better idea of where
that new town or community will be located.
Beginning by asking several higher-level, broader questions, you may
also get a feel for which particular Researcher(s) you might wish to
work with to answer further questions. In addition, this higher-level
research may lead you in directions that you had not anticipated.
Have you looked at Google Answers Pricing Guidelines? If not, they can
be found here:
What you should garner from this is that complex, involved questions
requiring detailed analysis on the part of the Researcher should be
priced accordingly to elicit the best answer. If a question requires
two to four hours of research, and considerable analysis and written
commentary, you should consider pricing it at the $100 level. For
something requiring more than four hours, perhaps requiring research
over several days, trips to the library, etc., $200 would be an
For your less involved questions, perhaps a list of countries not
currently involved in conflict or a list of several planned
communities with a short history and critique of their areas of
success and failure, $50 would probably be appropriate.
What is the final result of this research going to be? Bearing in
mind that a full-blown feasibility study would cost many tens of
thousands of dollars, and that the Google Answers maximum question
price is $200, you should proceed accordingly. If this is more of a
blue-sky activity, then you will likely not need the level of depth
and detail that would be required if this is a real-life project.
As to phrasing, you should include as much detail as you possibly can
to ensure that you and the Researcher are are on the same page. Often
questioners are disappointed when a Researcher has not been able to
discern an important aspect of the question, because they didnt even
make mention of it. Were good, but were not psychic.
Make it clear in your question that you will be available to answer
any Requests for Question Clarification that may come up. Obtaining a
successful answer to your question is often a two-way communication
process. As I notice that you have not previously asked a question of
Google Answers, let me point you to an excellent guideline that was
prepared by one of my colleagues, skermit-ga, to explain the entire
question process. It can be found here:
It goes into detail on the back-and-forth process of clarifying both
the question (before its answered) and the answer itself.
For example, you might start out with most of your initial paragraph:
I'm currently evaluating the feasibility of a project to create a new
entity, whether a new village/town/city in a currently existing
relatively politically stable country (I.E. not currently involved in
nor likely to be in any internal conflict that could quickly bring
revolution and lawlessness), or a new country entirely (whether by
purchasing of land rights from another country or private entity, or
the utilization of some sort of neutral international region).
Any additional detail on your project and your expected end product
should be included. Dont worry about being verbose, that is rarely an
issue; stress any points that are particularly important to your
perception of a comprehensive answer. Knowing your expectations will
help a Researcher gauge their ability to provide a complete answer.
You might go on to say something like:
Please provide me with a list of all countries that are not currently
embroiled in some type of external or internal conflict.
If you also want to know which countries are likely to remain stable
and peaceful, be aware that this adds to the complexity and scope of
the research, because now the Researcher has to find the analysis of
someone with historical and political perspective to be able to
predict continued tranquility in every currently peaceful nation. The
list of currently-quiescient nations might be a $50 question, but
adding the predictive angle could very well turn it into a $150 or
Keep in mind, also, that these are guidelines. Researchers are piqued
by any number motivations to answer specific questions.
At the same time, you might pose a question regarding the analysis of
the relative merits and problems associated with the different
methods of creating an economically or politically independent entity,
whether a city in the developed world, a new nation, or even a
In this question you should explain what your understanding of each
type of independent entity might be, and what might constitute a
nationless economy. You should also lay out your expectation of the
level of detail you want to see in this analysis. At this stage, I
would imagine that this would be a somewhat theoretical analysis,
unless you were to wait for the list of nations, and narrow down the
discussion to several specific possibilities.
Regarding good sources of information that would be starting points
for researching your questions, I can envision that a Researcher would
be accessing various databases, including governmental websites and
databases known to a particular Researcher (we have a tendency to
collect databases for future reference), such as:
Worldwide Directory of Cities and Towns
CIA World Factbook
Searches pertinent to your particular question would, of course,
reveal much more in the way of research sources, but I would suspect
that much of the reference material required to answer your questions
is probably not online. Looking through my own bookshelf, I found the
following, all of which would potentially be helpful in answering your
-two books by Spiro Kostof (The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and
Meanings Through History; and The City Assembled: The Elements of
Urban Form Through History).
-The Living City, by Roberta Brandes Gratz
-The Modern City: Planning in the 19th Century by Francoise Choay
-Urban Design: The Architecture of Towns and Cities by Paul D.
-City Life by Witold Rybczynski
-Cities Then & Now, by Jim Antoniou
The libraries are full of additional sources. In addition, study of
the works of greats such as Le Corbusier, Haussmann, LEnfant, etc.
would probably prove valuable.
Your question is the type of meaty, evocative subject that many of us
love to get involved in, so I hope that you will follow up with this
project. If you have questions on any of the above, please do not
hesitate to request clarification.
Best of luck on your project.