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Favelas And The Urban Rim

By:

A look at slums and shanty towns in the Cosmic Era

The Favelas of Northern Hemisphere

Favelas are specifically and historically hillside shanty towns in South America, most famously the slums of Rio de Janeiro. The Cosmic Era is a setting that is in a state of flux as people and ideas are moving, and population distribution is one of those areas of flux. The Second Dark Age saw a massive swing towards collectivism, there was protection in the cities that wasn't available in the country and for many previous urban dwellers, leaving the concrete jungle for the rural areas just wasn't in the cards. Attempts in the past have been made to depopulate urban areas and disperse that population into rural areas and farming occupations. Unlike other jobs, farming has a yearly schedule and is dictated by weather, and failure in agriculture is generally punishable by starvation.

During the Second Dark Age, people did attempt to move to rural areas, but they found the existing rural residents not friendly and often well armed and not interested in having more mouths to feed. Those who survived the foray into the 'wilderness' attempted to return to their urban homes and found them occupied. The process of arcopolarity came into play, and created the three ring model of the modern Cosmic Era city. The center is the arcology or arcology complex, surrounded by the Urban Aggregate or Urban Core of highrise buildings and other high efficiency structures that either depend on the arco, or support the daily function of the arco.

The third and outer ring is the shanty towns. Collectivism keeps people in the Cosmic Era living in high density areas despite the fact that there is room outside of the urban areas that isn't claimed. The lack of readily available personal transportation ala cars, trucks and such tied with the 3-4 centuries of neglect for roads and infrastructure not associated directly with the arcos limits personal physical mobility. It was simply a matter of time before the innermost suburbs and regions outside of the city cores piled up into multi-story shanty towns and favelas.

Purpose:

The Favelas exist as a dumping ground and slum zone for the undesireables and poor of the Cosmic Era. The poverty rate is fairly high in the era, especially outside of the arcologies. These areas have formed their own cultural identities and as often as they are cesspools and breeding pits for criminals and terrorists, they are also bastions of hope and upward social energy among legal residents. In some favelas, most notably Los Angeles and New Nuyork have seen previously criminal minded gangs and groups transition from law breaking organizations into neighborhood police and protection groups. In other areas, some local law enforcement agencies have fallen and become barely concealed criminal ventures.

The Favelas are places for people to hide, get lost, or otherwise be discarded or forgotten. In a game setting, the Favelas are keen for foot chases, extremely close quarters combat (some areas are dense enough that nothing larger than a man in body armor is going to fit. This makes it all the more horrific when say a 45 ton ax wielding urban assault mech wades through the area hunting a high profile target. The Favelas are also a good place to demonstrate the values of the Era. Almost all residents have access to the CogNet, or even local sourced black nodes (3rdNet emulators) but food, water, and medical supplies are traded commodities. Rat burger?

Agenda:

Each favela or urban rim collective has an overall agenda, and this agenda is determined by the leadership and needs of the specific sector.

Some common agendas:

Agricultural projects for food production

Criminal enterprises, covert drug production, operation of a CogNet criminal node, human bloodsports, and so on.

Neighborhood Watch, to make it a nice safe place to live

Restoration of a specific facility, such as a factory, hospital or other preexisting but no long core supported building.

Just survive another shitty day

Leadership: Each Favela and sector has it's own form of leadership, and seldom are two the same. This can lead to conflict between segments of an overall favela and even open violence and warfare between the residents of two different sectors as boundaries are mobile and fluid. Democracy is a legacy, and by far the exception rather than the rule.

Some common modes of leadership:

Gang/Praetorian - The favela is ruled by a gang boss and the boss in in turn supported by his strongmen. Leadership is secured through threats and strength of arms. The Favela is likely either a criminal camp or an occupied area and the gang is exploiting it for its resources.

Council/Elite - The favela is run by a small group of interested slum lords and bosses. They likely control the vital resources of the area and by default are in charge. The oligarchs live like would be monarchs in their slum kingdoms, and are likely to be invested in criminal enterprises or an overall goal such as repairing and restarting a power plant, hospital, or other specific facility.

Council/Common - the favela is run by a small group of senior residents much like a small town. Some are elected, others are just the person best suited for the job. These are often less important or valuable sectors, and are much more likely to be directed at being safe, nice places to live, or light agriculture

Elected Mayor - an uncommon arrangement, in either more advanced and culturally sound favelas or in small favelas with limited resources. This figure can be a charismatic leader, or a scapegoat in the waiting.

Proxy/Satrapy - Some favelas are organized and run by factions within a city core, and the favela has a purpose to support the arco or serve it in some other purpose, such as being a dumping ground, low security prison. The region is administered by a city official, supported by urban security forces and local strongmen

Resources:

Favelas are poor by definition, lacking industrial and commercial sectors and they are not involved in any significant economic activity such as mining, forestry, or food production. The main resource of the Favela is humanity, and the main economic activity is service and social industries. Scrapping and recycling/repurposing trash and digging up debris from the Petroleum Era is a major area of work, along with local food production (typically supplemented with food charities from the city core) and most high end income is from pharmaceuticals, alcohol distillation, and sex working.

The Favelas typically have a predominantly young population, with many born every year into the grinding poverty. This young, often angry population is a valuable source of soldiers for the world militaries. This recruitment is one of the reasons that a greater effort isn't made to eliminate the favelas. The young women of the favelas are also considered valuable as they are generally much more agreeable to working in the sex trade.

Symbolism/Iconography

Each Favela and sector will have its own sets of symbols and iconography. These are specific to each favela/sector. In North America, many of these favelas have icons and symbols associated with former sports teams, or the symbols previously associated with the region they are in.

History

Most Favelas are in the vicinity of 80 to 120 years old, with older previous favelas having been the subject of natural disaster, devastating fires, or viral break outs. The current favelas trace their histories back through the rise and fall of what had previously been suburb communities through a dance with the growth of the arcologies, the collapse of wide scale infrastructures like roads and power lines, and the fluctuations of the population base.

Territorialism and small scale violence are also common in favela histories as the communities struggle through effective and ineffective leadership, and respond to threats to their resources (water, secure locations, food supplies) and outright war in favelas in areas that are the subject of military occupations. These favelas have strong martial and partisan traditions and trace their histories through resistance movements and rebel fighters.

Residents

The average Favela resident is 18-28 years old, and living in poverty.

Criminals: given the popularity of exile, either self exile or or legally imposed, many criminals have exported to the favelas. This isn't a new theme, but has been going on for approximately 120-200 years. The residents of the favelas born in the favelas are often the children and grandchildren of criminals. This creates a generational condition of acceptance of criminal activities.

Nuevo-Poverty: the newly poor are arco residents and city dwellers who accrued such debt that it was determined that they had neither the intent or ability to repay it and were consequently seized and evicted from their property, and their possessions taken and liquidated against their debt. These people were then exiled to the Favelas. The NPs are often the poorest of the poor in the favelas as they don't have the ability to survive outside of their gilded cages. The average NP is older, and often emotionally and spiritually broken, and much more likely to become addicted to drugs. This is also not a new condition in the favelas and eventually some NPs survive to marry and have children in the ghetto and create a situation of generational poverty as well as fostering a hatred of the arcos and their wealth.

Outcastes: in some areas, clones are treated as second class citizens or even property and in these areas it is not uncommon to find clone favelas, where the escaped clones have fled to and settled. This can also be applied to returning military veterans with social disabilities, undesirable genetic augments such as formerly respectable people who've turned themselves into circus freaks, the mentally disturbed and so forth.

Ethnic Groups: racism is still present in the Cosmic Era and if there is a race or ethnic group that is considered inferior or the subject of racism, that ethnic group is much more likely to represent a sizeable portion of a favela population. The Ethnic groups are much more likely to form self defensive communities and have a resistance to gangs or city proxy leadership.

Favelans: a large percentage of the population base of a favela was born in the favelas, first or second generation residents and many of them are undocumented by Cosmic Era census databases. These residents have only known their shanty towns, and lives of relatively high crime, low security and scarcity of goods that reaches back to the Second Dark Age for severity.

Access to Location

Reaching the Favelas from the city cores is not as easy as it seems. The city cores and arcologies retain ancient means of protection, walls. Leaving a major city like New Nuyork to get out into the Burroughs (the name collectively for the city favelas) have to pass through a security wall checkpoint. Most residents who leave the city do so on a maglev train or an aircraft, and avoid the favelas completely. There are almost no places large enough in a built up favela to support landing electrofan aircraft. Seen from the other side, the walls around the city cores look like prisons for the arco and city dwellers.



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Comments ( 3 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
April 27, 2013, 20:49
0xp
Sorry for not voting sooner.
Voted Shadoweagle
April 27, 2013, 23:19
0xp
Sounds like a jacked-up mix of every 'bronx' and 'slum' type area you could think of. :p

Players could easily get lost (During a chase scene, perhaps) in the maze-like streets, and perhaps seperated from one another. All the racism and the criminal element could make for a dangerous place to get lost in, too,

This also seems like a perfect place to find your 'han solos' of your game.

I like that each Sector, and each Favela can have it's own agenda and leaders, and that it's general enough that you can create your own favela to your own needs. Very useful areas, and really, Favelas would be essential for the Cosmic Era.

I like your encyclopediac style in explaining this.
Scrasamax
June 19, 2013, 23:57
0xp
Update: Recovered from the Void
Voted valadaar
May 6, 2014, 13:14
0xp
Ah, the place where Derek calls home. Such fun :)

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