Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dystopic Form of the City Miami

Miami - 2052

9,532,460 population

This sprawling city and the rest of Florida enjoyed a population explosion when it accepted no less than three waves of refugees from nearby states.  Many of those refugees were first turned to the task of walling out the other refugees when it was found that a number of irradiated individuals were heading East and when the first reports of zombies started flooding in.  Salvation Wall must be credited to the 2028 new American Conglomeration – a combination of corporations who agree on certain civic regulations such as hose pipe diameters for fire trucks to ensure the country could continue to function.  Approximately four million of these American refugees settled in and around Miami, almost doubling its population, where a number of housing projects boasting skyscrapers sprung up within a few years.

In fact, Miami describes itself as a futuristic society rather than a cyberpunk one which is something many cities claim but which is actually quite true of Miami.  While there is a huge augmentation craze (mainly revolving around plastic surgery or useless frills like augmented feet that can exude roller blades) and while there are still criminal wars, advertising wars, and industrial espionage aplenty, Miami is still a place of sun and sand rather than smog and shadows.

The Miami river is relatively clean and habitable thanks to the fact it largely comes from the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee although special desalinisation plants and anti-rad plants do their best to keep the various rivers entering the lake, and the lake itself, clean.  This is a semi-difficult task as sometimes radioactive dust is whipped out from the central states and blows quite far and wide.  On the plus side, the water ranges from only slightly irradiated to safe and that’s quite good all things considered.  On the downside, it is quite polluted due to the sudden increase in communities built along its banks due to the refugees although that has simply taken it to the level of the Thames River rather than to the level expected of a cyberpunk society.  

Miami River Docks have space for small cargo terminals for ships up to 230 feet in length to load cargo.  It is also an area into which all manner of contraband—contraband (namely brand name knock offs, illegal aliens—has been discharged into the US.  It is perfectly legal to buy and sell correctly labelled and manufactured drugs but it is illegal to manufacture or sell poorly made drugs.  The Chemistry Safety Commission (largely made up of mafia dons and pharmaceutical companies) make sure of it and are free to dole out massive fines on pain of injury to those who ignore them or don’t pay the correct tithes (erm, taxes).

While there are taxes, these taxes are generally more obviously linked except in the case where organised criminals have covered their antics in legal-sounding words.  People must pay a certain amount of tax but can divide up the proportions and assign it to different areas online.  20% income tax online to certain general areas (i.e. education) or 21% to assign it to certain types (i.e. primary schools or other languages or education in Coral Way) or 22% to institutions (Sacred Hearts Primary School).  A certain proportion is kept aside for basic necessities (internet cables, road repair, etc.)  This has led to areas with wealthier residents getting a real boost to their local environment whilst areas with a largely poor or unemployed populations miss out as most people are happier to pay a little more tax so long as it affects their local area.

The police are restricted to detective work involving violent crimes and mass property damage.  Everything else is dealt with by private police which can range from private investigators to trumped up bouncers to mercenaries.

Public transport is a lot easier than private transport due to the substantial growth found across Miami.  There is a commuter rail system, fully automated Metromovers  on skyways in Downtown areas, taxis, and some buildings also have helipads.

This is a rich city with a large number of Spanish-speaking citizens that have also unofficially accepted the existence of vampires though most people haven’t met one (or don’t know if they have) and some still think it’s some sort of cultural meme like Anonymous that makes a point to hack photographs.  Religion is on the rise due to a large settlement of southern Americans and the fact that the dead are walking which has increased the prevalence of Christians, Muslims, and Jews – with a sad coincident increase in fundamentalism and evangelism.  Death cults are also on the rise with people believing the End Times are upon us.


  1. How tall are the buildings? Manhattan gets to have real tall buildings because the island is a block of granite. Downtown San Diego can have no taller than 40 stories because the foundation there is sandstone, and that won't support the weight of taller structures.

    1. Judging by the wikipedia entry over here ( they already have a 64-storey high rise although most of their other skyscrapers are just over half of that.

      I'll be going with a number of 60 - 70-storey skyscrapers due to the locals' desire to house a lot of people without destroying the green spaces and suburban areas. In other words, pack more into the inner city and you don't need to change as much outside of that.