It seems odd to have to worry about urban planning in today’s day and age. In this age of buildings that, for all intents and purposes, can be built to limitless heights, what does it really matter how things are laid out? Why does it matter if we put the park here or there? Who cares if the recycling center is in the center of town or out on the periphery? Although modern strategies of urban planning originated to deal with how to maximize land use when land itself was limited, the planning of land use is all the more important when the usable space you have to work with is practically infinite. Odd little things, such as examining pedestrian flow or infrastructural considerations can have a vast impact on how successful a community ultimately will be, since it amounts to making things as easy for the inhabitants as possible.
Of course, such considerations become even more important for space-based communities, when that pesky gravity no longer adds such a two-dimensional emphasis on planning. Now, we can sprawl however far we want in all three dimensions, which makes the use of space almost MORE important. It’s a counterintuitive thought, to be sure, but it becomes a matter of practicality and ease of living for inhabitants. The problems that can pop up in unplanned communities can be seen in old fashioned ‘boom towns.’ These often crop up when some incredibly valuable resource is discovered, and people suddenly rush to the scene. As is always the case, when people congregate together, some kind of town is born, but if it’s unplanned from the beginning, it can grow haphazardly and unevenly, leading to major problems down the road as the community continues to grow. Of course, boom towns can happen just as easily in space as they can on planets… perhaps even more so given the comparative riches that can be found in space. An example can be found out in A8-XBW, in Fountain. As Aura explains:
Extremely valuable gas clouds have been discovered in the Pegasus constellation which have created a gold rush. ORE was quick to claim ‘ownership’ as the constellation borders its sovereign space, but the Serpentis and the Syndicate, as well as multiple entrepeneurs from the Gallente Federation, have all claimed their own piece of the pie. Inevitably collisions have occurred and the constellation has become a sort of ‘warzone’ between various groups of greedy claimants.
The Yakura Harvesting Depot very much has that feeling of a town that grew too much too fast. Structures sprawl haphazardly on the edge of the gas cloud that fuels the incredible growth of the Depot. Rather than there being any particular order to the area, things grow from wherever they happened to be plopped down. Some structures have grown so large as to be unwieldy (not to mention poorly positioned), while abandoned structures are left where they stood, with the community not even attempting to clean them up. It leads to an odd dissonance throughout the site: structures that are so new they sparkle are built on top of older buildings that show their wear, while those are built just a little ways away from abandoned buildings that are left to gather dust in the endless void of space.
The Depot can roughly be split into 3 areas: the primary industrial area, which appears to be asteroid based. Then there’s the shipping area, where cargo pads seem to tumble on to each other in an attempt to maximize berthing space for incoming and outgoing freighters. And then, for some reason closer to the valuable gas clouds than either the industrial or commercial shipping areas, lays the somewhat ramshackle living areas. Despite the great wealth in the area, the living conditions have yet to catch up for the workers who simply wanted to plant their stake as quickly as possible. The quick-construction asteroid habitats should be familiar to my regular readers, made up of smaller asteroids that are linked together via a series of metal tubes. There is also a second, larger living facility nearby, made up of three larger asteroids that are still hollowed out and linked together. The larger facility seems newer to me, and closer still to the gas cloud. And, for some odd reason, a THIRD asteroid colony can be seen clear on the other side of the Depot, out past the industrial base.
The primary industrial base of the area is located on a massive asteroid. Rather than being entirely hollowed out like the living areas, the industrial area has a number of facilities that peak out of the surface, including docking ports and the like to bring materials to and from the factories. Nearby, the ruins of a Quafe sign can be seen. The sign actually intrigues me. Did Quafe really manage to jump onto the bandwagon so quickly? Was this an attempt at corporate sponsorship that went awry? If so, why did relations break down? The sign appears pretty battered, with twisted steel beams being the only remains of the sign’s original framework. The power source is apparently still active, as evidenced by the flicker of the sign every now and then, while a ghostly image of a Quafe bottle flashes across the screen for a few seconds. Remains of the word “ENJOY” float nearby, though I’m not entirely sure what happened to the ‘O’. Perhaps not the most effective advertising campaign, but at least they weren’t trying to hide what they were selling.
The most interesting part of the Depot, I think, is the commercial shipping area. It’s a hodgepodge of various stores that have cropped up, allowing pilots and crews to spend their time (and, more importantly, their money) while waiting for their ships to be unloaded and loaded. Here, one can easily see that there is no overarching design philosophy. New cargo pads were built as they were needed, wherever the builders wanted. Some pads appear to built literally on top of others. That doesn’t stop the constant stream of freight traffic, though. Three separate freighters can be seen while I’m there. Surrounding the pads are various shops that showcase the free-for-all feeling out here. A casino floats near a brothel, while drugs can easily be purchased as well. A few battleships float throughout the site, providing a measure of external security from raiders, but they didn’t seem to be conducting any police actions within the Depot. With no CONCORD presence and little order, the very western edge of the Cluster is indeed pretty wild.
The Yakura Depot is a thriving town on the edge of lawless space, but whether that can be sustained remains to be seen. These kind of boom towns often don’t survive much past the exhaustion of their resources, and even massive dust clouds in space don’t last forever. Still, as I vectored my Tengu onwards in my journey, I wished them the best of luck, and hoped that they’d get around to planning out their space just a little better.
- Attraction: Yakura Harvesting Depot
- System: A8-XBW
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Fountain
- Potential Hazards: A8-XBW is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with Serpentis.