Trope-a-Day: Urban Segregation

Urban Segregation: Averted in the Empire, at least in the prestige/class-based sense, mostly because the sort of class structure that results in people of different classes (especially wealth-based classes) declining to associate in the segregationist sense is an outgrowth of primate relative status hierarchies and exclusivist signifiers.  Since the eldrae, as they would put it, are not insane – or in any case, don’t do relative status hierarchies, and people of all wealth levels share the same mores, culture, and tastes – their cities aren’t divided into the upmarket and downmarket areas, the gated and the ghetto; their districts tend to be a jumble of all incomes, and residential, commercial and light industrial properties all mixed together.

(As a side note, I would add, most of the cities are owned by people who, first, consider their personal pride a function of their civic pride; and second, as runér, are inclined to the quaint notion that poor people are every bit as entitled to have their rights respected as anyone else.  Any city-district that degenerated to a level even substantially above that of a “ghetto” would swiftly attract a military garrison, loaded to shoot trouble; and even before that, well, the Watch Constabulary understand the iterated prisoner’s dilemma, and that their jobs will be a hell of a lot easier if they keep things above the point at which the rational strategy flips to default-defect.)

Inasmuch as you’re going to find differentiated districts, you’re going to find them differentiated by function, profession, or cultural fillip – “Commerce Gyre”, “City Hall”, “Cinnareville”, “Kaethburg”, “Little Vervian”, “Codewalkers’ Apartments”, “Cogging Ash”, etc., etc., with lots of mixed creole districts in between.

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