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LEGO City: One of the Largest and Most Encompassing LEGO Themes to Date

The LEGO City theme has changed and grown over the past few years to encompass almost all aspects of city and town life. The LEGO City we know today was first referred to as LEGO Town in 1978, then LegoLand, and next World City.

In 2005 the World City theme was renamed as just City and took over as the LEGO System's primary theme relating to town life. Whereas World City was limited to sets utilizing rescue services like Fire, Police or Coast Guard, LEGO City added an airport, hospital, train, construction sets, and eventually farm-related sets.

In recent years, LEGO has expanded the City theme even further with more civilian sets, and will release the Space theme once again in 2011. It seems clear that LEGO intends to keep the City theme as a long-term theme similar in scope to the original Town theme.

Since the name change in 2005, over 170 sets have been introduced in the City theme. What is truly unique is that every year since 1978 sets have been introduced in this theme. Currently there are thirteen subthemes under LEGO City.

LEGO City Subthemes

  • Airport
  • Cargo
  • Coast Guard
  • Construction
  • Emergency
  • Farm
  • Fire
  • Harbour
  • Police
  • Space
  • Traffic
  • Train
  • Transport

In addition to the subthemes above, there are also Accessories, Bonus and Value Packs, Seasonal and Special items. One example would be the ever-popular City Advent Calendar that has been released every year since 2005, and falls under Seasonal items. The City Advent Calendars are a way to count down the Holidays by opening a new LEGO City minifigure, vehicle or accessory every day from December 1st to December 24th.

Some of the more memorable sets under City include Combine Harvester (7636) introduced in 2009, Helicopter and Limousine (3222) in 2010, XXL Mobile Crane (7249) in 2005, and Fire Hovercraft (7944) from 2007. However, LEGO upped the bar in design when they introduced Cafe Corner (10182) in 2007. Although there are some differences in categorization of this set and other LEGO Modular Houses, we choose to place them in the LEGO City theme.

Cafe Corner (10182) was the first in the Modular Houses series, and was originally released in April 2007. The sets in this series were larger than most sets, and introduced some unorthodox building techniques that had never been tried in official LEGO sets. Therefore these sets were aimed at more advanced builders with a suggested age of sixteen and above.

The current sets in the series are Cafe Corner (10182), Market Street (10190), Green Grocer (10185), Fire Brigade (10197), and Grand Emporium (10211). Since the sets have received very favorable receptions, we can expect to see more of these in the future.

The LEGO City theme will continue to be one of the most popular that LEGO produces. With the reintroduction of the Space subtheme, there should be even more excitement over upcoming sets and minifigures.
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