Macedonia, which was already densely populated in the Neolithic period, acquired cities with an organized town-plan only in the 4th century BC. Ancient cities (e.g. Aigai) were developed and new ones founded as part of the Macedonian kings' projects to improve the administrative, economic and military organization of the state which was henceforth to take an energetic part in Greek politics.
Systematic town-planning was instituted by Philip II and elaborated by Alexander III and the Successors with the founding of cities bearing their names (Philippi, Alexandria, Kassandreia, Thessalonike, Demetrias). In cities built in the plain (Olynthos, Pella, Amphipolis) the Hippodameian system was applied.
Town-plan of Olynthos
The administrative, religious and commercial centers were situated in separate quarters of the city among blocks of private houses (except in Dion where the religious center was outside the city walls). The carefully planned layout of the buildings and complicated water-supply systems ensured comfortable living conditions, and the health and unobstructed movement of the inhabitants.
When cities were built on hills (Aiane, Petres) the main streets ran round the elevation almost parallel to each other, with narrower lanes linking these main arteries (free system). The strong walls of the cities made the best use of the lie of the terrain, and offered protection from the frequent attacks by various tribes of the North.
In Roman times the cities were reorganized in large-scale town-plans which adorned them with new market-places, theaters, baths etc. (e.g. Philippi, Thessalonike, Beroia).