I would sorely like to create a city state for my campaign, but given the blasted troubles I've had creating the mega-dungeon the task appears far more daunting.
Judges Guild was unable to duplicate my favorite, the original version of City State of the Invincible Overlord (City State of the World Emperor was similar, but in many respects incomplete compared to Invincible Overlord).
Mapping: How does one map multiple-story buildings?
State Blocks: What are the minimum stat blocks for inhabitants?
Random Encounters: How different are the quarters of the city?
Dungeons: A large city should have large catacombs, so write them together... or separate a'la Wraith Overlord?
Given that a city is not really an encounter-based dungeon (although Invincible Overlord was for our thief-based campaigns) and most shops will never be entered, perhaps large swaths of a city could be mapped in generalities. Only major encounter-based locations would be drafted in detail while tables could be used for butchers, tailors, and candle-stick makers.
Of course, what sort of game judge would a city be designed for? One who is supposed to "design" on the fly i.e. keeping notes of all the randomized encounters (so they would be there for the party next time), or someone who expects a certain consistency that's what's here is here and what's there is there.
Now, M.A.R. Barker's Jakalla in Empire of the Petal Throne (1975, TSR) has a wonderful map (see below) and then merely designated 77 important locations on the map - no stats for inhabitants or detailed descriptions beyond "40. Harbor of the Imperial Squadron 41. Barracks of the City Guard" etc. That may be the way to go because the focus would be on map design and game judges would just have to make encounters fit their particular group, perhaps with some standard examples for guards, secret police, moat critters, and stuff like that. Hmmmmm.
**** Jakalla in E.P.T. also has an 8-paragraph description directed to foreign characters visiting the city, as well as random encounter and mission tables.