Tweet of the Day: A Spell for You
Your colony ship lands in a virgin world and your crew is ready to create the first settlement upon it. But what should you call it? Do you name it after the leader of your star nation? Perhaps use the name of your significant other? Oh, no, you will name it after your favorite place in your home world! But you don’t want settlers to confuse the two so you name it New Neo City!
Ironically there is nothing new about naming a city the New Something, just look at New York, or New Brunswick, or New Mexico…well you get the idea. If you are a science fiction writer you will switch New for Neo (the mean the same thing), because Neo is latin and latin sounds cool. Works just as well in fantasy settings, although the tendency there is to append the name to a city born out of the ashes of an old one or simply name the newer part of the expanding capital the New City, which of course makes the older part, the Old City (duh!)
As seen above, this trope is strongest in science fiction, perhaps because so many places in the Americas follow this naming convention and since many authors model space exploration of distant planets after the “discovery” of these continents by European explorers it follows that in the future human explorers would name cities, colonies, and even entire planets after old Earth locals. Makes it easy to introduce audiences to new locales through reference to old ones. Want a glamorous city full of art and architecture, call it New Paris. If your city is a the center of high-tech commerce, then New Tokyo might fit, and so on. It also inserts a sense of history, since in order to have a New City, you need an Old City somewhere, even if the old one lies in ruins in of a long forgotten world.