A Little Bit of Background Material
The concept of the contacology isn't new, they exist now, but we know them as suburbs, enclaves, and HOAs. Today these are based around real estate development, selling the idea of an artificial community in a digital age. Come live in The Heights at Cherry Creek, a Blackstone Investment Real Estate Venture, where you'll only se your neighbors for a few seconds at a time and almost never speak despite your houses being 32 inches apart. This mentality drove the creation of the arcologies, so that like minded people (or people in a similar very high income bracket) could form their own communities, where everyone was like them, and had similar social, economic, and political investments. Integration and diversity are for the poor and middle class. The upper class is divided by income and tax brackets.
The end of the Petroleum Era and the Second Dark Age were marked by stunningly high racial, class, and similar tensions. In many places this turned from tension into atavistic violence, a cathartic purge that reversed decades of social engineering. In some places this change was so abrupt that the communities separated like oil and water, overnight becoming homogeneous. Sometimes this was a sort of self-segregation, where the other left of their own accord, typically striking out for less hostile environs, or to growing enclaves that matched their ideals. Sometimes this was blood and murder. It wasn't pretty, and in some places this would continue even after communities were purged along their ethnic lines.
The dissolution of governments above a local scale left the majority of these problems in local hands. If there were race riots and ethnic cleansing going on in the West Coast and the South, that was no concern of people and organizations in Europe, or Canada, or anywhere else. The Second Dark Age made all problems local problems.
This ongoing strife was one of the major pushes to turn the old society towards the new. The new communities rose clustered around remaining resources, and raised walls to protect themselves and their interests. The first threats were external, this community versus that community, and were contesting resources like electricity and clean water, access to specific stockpiles and defensive locations. Organized communities with the ability to protect themselves, to raise walls and security forces, and maintain a level of comfort and happiness thrived. Those that couldn't would eventually contribute to the raider problem.
The issue wasn't done.
The major urban areas had a massive appetite for literally everything, and the notion of controlling everything around them, applying urban values across their claimed domain. This was seen as problematic, since the division between urban and rural perspectives and lifestyles were opposed even before everything started going downhill. The enclaves that became self sufficient had a new problem to contend with, hunting and gathering parties from said cities, even as those cities were turning in on themselves in their own paroxysms of fire and violence. Some were assimilated, others were destroyed, and a few survived. Those that survived had to have that mix of self sufficiency, a communal solidarity, and be somewhat distant from one of the dozen or so megacities.
Contacologies, Franchlets, and Burbclaves
The end of the Second Dark Age and the birth of the Cosmic Era saw a lot of this tension and hostility decline. In many areas this was a simple function of depopulation. Almost a century of lack, low birth rate, high infant mortality, and sporadic pandemics saw the global population collapse. A decimation is to be reduced by ten percent, this was the opposite. Compared to the height of the Petroleum Age, the world population at the start of the Cosmic Era was a tenth of what it had been. Human clung to scattered communes that were too isolated to be bothered, congregated in the contacologies, and huddled in the arco-fortresses.
The birth of the New Earth Governments, and the New Economic Blocs (the surviving mega and burgeoning hypercorps) saw a return to normality. Economic exchange was still ruthless, but involved fewer rusty knives and antique weapons and military equipment. The populations started to rise again, and notes were taken. The self sufficient nature of the contacologies were noted, as were how they had sorted and settled out. The largest notes taken were soft segregation and community character. Related contacologies and arcologies knit together, or those with similar ideals did. From those grew internal service and entertainment industries. To the denizens of the Petroleum Era these developments would have been astoundingly racist and discriminatory. The end result was that ethnic communities had ethnic education systems, and ethnic media, and their news anchors, musicians, and actors were generally of the same ethnicity. Culture was systematically packaged, licensed, copyrighted, and protected.
What is a Contacology?
The contacology is a container arcology. They are not megastructures, and have nothing to do with said megastructures. The first contacologies were collections of container based homes. The durable steel shells lasted longer than tradition stick built houses, so they lasted longer as communities. When space became an issue, along with security, the containers were stacked, scaffolding replaced fire escapes and stairs. People lived in container stacks, with ethnic affiliations being of high priority.
As some areas grew new commerce and industry, the containers were upgraded, modular homes became popular. Walls were built, common areas were made better for the population, and the community resources were centralized. Factories, powerplants, water sources, all became central focus. There might be a half dozen contacologies around a single lake, sharing a single power plant, pooling their skills, resources, and military forces to keep it all secure.
When the Cosmic Era arose, these were again upgraded. Many contacologies started looking like sea container trailer parks, or The Stacks from Ready Player One, but turned into seeming resort communities. The middle and upper middle class fleshed these out, even as urban investors and developers came in and started gentrification.
1. New Harlem
New Harlem was one of the first serious contacologies that appeared after the end of the Resource Wars. It grew as New Nuyork rose from the shell of the old city. It was felt that the new arcologies were going to continue old trends, marginalizing people of color, and pushing them down and out of positions of importance. Rather than accept this, the residents of New Harlem set up their own systems, and for a time were self-governing. Inside this contacology, protected from the populace of the new city, the old black culture was cultivated and grown, supporting black families, and a place where black values were ensconced.
Retroville is a unique community and only exists through the use of active visual alteration. Everything built in Retroville is grayscale, all the clothing is grayscale. By wearing a pair of special smart glasses, all remaining visual input is rendered grayscale, or black and white. What makes the community special is that it has organized itself into a replica of 1950s Americana. Few people live in Retroville but it is a popular destination for tourism, and for people who want to play out their Leave it to Beaver/Dick van Dyke/Andy Griffin show dreams.
What makes Retroville a positive location is that it is, aside from the anti-color glasses, extremely low-tech. People with tech addictions or issues with cognitive technologies can use a place like Retroville as a detox clinic. It is also considered a wholesome representation of the Early Petroleum Era, when pollution, resource wars, and toxic behavior weren't things.
Christmasville is a time locked town, where the idealized nostalgic version of Christmas is observed year round. Things go on vacation or take a back burner in the spring and summer, hard to carol when its 70 degrees after the sun goes down. This is the dormant phase when renovations are done, building is handled, and heavy maintenance is carried out. As soon as it starts getting cold, like Hobby Lobby, the Christmas decorations come out, and the spirit of the holiday is embraced.
Christmasville is the sort of place where Hallmark movie media content is made, and its kinda hard to villainize the ideal of Christmas, if you split it away from the merchandising and rampant consumerism we experience today.
4. Little Korea
Little Korea is an ethnic enclave that celebrates Korean culture, cuisine, and tradition.
5. La Galleria
La Galleria is an enclave heavily skewed towards the gay community. This means that it has a heavy hand in exporting fashion, shoes, make-up, music, and musical productions. Like any community, it has its positives and negatives, but by a large margin, La Galleria is perfectly fine, and an incredible place to shop and eat. The nightclub scene is literally other-worldly. (Vegas, with more drag performers)
The downside is the degen side of La Galleria is really degen but is that any different than the straights?
Also known as Sigma, MGTOW is a mono-gender contacology. There are only men in MGTOW, women are not barred from entering, but they are also not welcomed. Unlike La Galleria, MGTOW is not based on sexual orientation, but rather, it caters to frequently older men who are absolutely over the world and disgusted with it, almost like a retirement community, or some liken it to a self-admittance prison. Some men go there to heal and recover from what has been done to them. Others go there because in the CE it is the closest a typical citizen can get to going and living as an ascetic monk on top of a mountain, alone.
Most Men Go Their Own Way contacologies have fatalistic names, embrace stoic values, and see rampant alcoholism, but also produce literature, craft spirits, woodworking, and music.
Similar to both La Galleria and MGTOW, Ladytownes are contacologies that caters to only women. Unlike the other two, men are specifically not allowed into Ladytowne.
Ladytowne's tend to skew a bit older demographically but are very often strongly involved in charity works. Liberal Ladytowne's tend to skew more towards lesbian/bi/trans activism, while conservative Ladytowne's are much more religious/traditionalist.
8. Burning Man
Burning Man contacologies are a sort of Mad Max celebration of the wastelander aesthetic. Functionally they are vacation destinations for people who want to go buck wild for a little while, throw away the trappings of civilization to indulge in some personal anarcho-catharsis before going back to their cubicle life.
9. LARP Towne
LARP Towne is what happens when a Renaissance Faire becomes a community and people can live there full time. This creates a double win, as it gives Luddites and historical enthusiasts a place to live away from the hypertech. It also gives genre fantasy productions natural places to produce their endless Game of the Rings, The Sword in the Throne, and Ubiquitous Teenager Magic Academy media franchises.
10. Atlantis (aqauology)
Atlantic is what happens when you want to live in an underwater Las Vegas with a Neo-Native American/Indigenous Persons aesthetic.
11. Novo Sicilia
Novo Sicilia is a franchlet, licensed, packaged, and sold by The Bank of the Northern Hemisphere. The design is described as Neo-Italian, decorated with grape motifs, and drawing on the nostalgic air of romantic Italy. As the Bank of the Northern Hemisphere is based out of New Nuyork, there is nothing Italian or authentic about Novo Sicilia or any of its franchlets. They are the Olive Gardens of designer communities, where everything might look like gondolas and Italian dining, it's mass produced and packaged, artificial in the extreme.
Novo Sicilia is known for mafia cosplay, white collar crime, ponzi schemes, time shares, and glorifying Amero-style ethno-culturalism. A menu in a Novo Sicilian restaurant is almost the same as a restaurant in California or Texas, Canada or anywhere else in the Atlantic Federation, but instead the bacon cheeseburger is the Don's Special and has mozzarella (white cheese product) and prosciutto (thin sliced upcharged bacon flavored substrate)
12. Gay Paris
Over-pronounced as Gay Pareeeee, Gay Paris is a corporate backed, bank invested, mock French destination contacology and retirement villa. Owned by the Euro Cultural Investment Group, based out of Atlanta, Gay Paris is the French equivalent of a Denny's. Like Novo Sicilia it is cultural corporatism and economic packaging. Each Gay Paris franchlet is built around a central park with an installed 1/3rd scale version of the Eiffel Tower, and the main entrance of each is the Arc Triomphe. The central commercial sector, facing the nu-Eiffel tower, is a replica of the Louvre. Said commercial district is packed with cutting edge fashion, bleeding edge cuisine, and aside from franchised installations like pre-packaged bistros, bakeries, and coffee shops, there is nothing French about Gay Paris.
Gay Paris is an economic siphon to take money from people obsessed with baguettes and macarons. The main exports from Pareeeeee franchlets aside from money include romantic media, remakes of French or neo-French literature and movies, and avant-garde softcore pornography.
To live in a MacGuinness contacology is akin to walking into a mock-Irish sports bar and pub anywhere in America and decide that hey, this looks like a cool as fuck place to live. These franchlets are common, and lack any sort of architectural cohesiveness, and tend to follow whatever the local trends in building had been. The only concessions to the mock Irish ideals are the prevalence of Irish names and themes through businesses and restaurants, and a prevalence of leprechauns, shamrocks, and barely concealed alcoholism. As with the other franchlets, MacGuinness is prepackaged and modular, low end and low brow. The bacon cheeseburger in MacGuinness is has County Kerry inspired cheese (product) and a lucky leprechaun bacon strips. Have it with a pint or three, eh?
MacGuinness has a number of valuable products it exports: beer and spirits, up and coming athletes, up and come sex workers, and recruits for police and military forces.
14. El Norte
El Norte is considered by some to be a grievous racial and cultural appropriation, and in insult to Latin America and Latin Americans. The franchlet is designed to mimic pueblo and 19th century Mexican architecture, and is emblazoned with strings of chili pepper lights, Day of the Dead sugar skull art, sombreros, and tequila. The variant El Norte del Mar is the same, but adds beach motifs and shrimp replaces artificial beef as the prime protein on the menus.
El Norte franchlets are predominantly non-latino in ethnicity, and have among the lowest rates of permanent residency. Most are strongly controlled resort destination contacologies. The franchlet is a packaged Americanized version of Mexico, and draws more strongly on Taco Bell and cowboy westerns than it does on any sort of attachment to actual Hispanic or Latino culture. Most El Nortes are in the central and northern parts of North America, though there are a few in Australia, and Asia, as novelties.
Blackstones never go by that name, they always have borderline pretentious names. The Heights at some place, Pleasant Ridge Estates, or some such nonsense. These franchlets are best described as the worst of Neo-American. Large commercial district, there is no present culture other than the bar and grill/homestyle Americana, and the pervading sense of ethnic people scare us. The greatest irony about Blackstone franchlets is that they are not exclusively white. There are ethnic Black, Asian, and Hispanic Blackstones as well, and these maintain the sense of racial and cultural paranoia, can't trust these people that don't look like us.
A Blackstone contacology is always near an arcology, and many serve as second homes to arco elites, or the retirement destination of upper middle and lower wealthy tier arco residents. Ages tend to run high, tolerances are low, and unlike some of the ethnic cultural oriented franchlets, Blackstones are consumers, not producers. One of the cultural worries in the Cosmic Era is that Blackstone and Blackstone like franchlets are becoming more profitable, and are steadily increasing in number. Not only does this start leaning towards the consumerism and materialism of the Petroleum Era, but the culture inside a Blackstone is non-existent. They are polished, slick, marketed communities.
16. Corporate Contacology
The Corporate Contacology is often nearly indistinguishable from a Blackstone. Many of the mega and hypercorps in the Cosmic Era follow the zaibatsu model, and have chartered and built their own contacologies. These are very much destinations for employees: for vacations, retirement, get away meetings, and the like. Corporate installations will be laden with the intellectual properties and subsidiaries of the corp, and will have amenities like a golf course, tech centers, and remote offices, so that corp life and corp work can continue.
A common term for a corporate contacology is Satellite. These satellite communities function like branch offices of a corp, often letting them expand their reach without having to penetrate into an urban core, where the arcologies are already spoken for, or building a new one is prohibitive in terms of space and cost. These satellites tend to be producers, having some element of the corp present, allowing for emergency production capacity, warehousing, or some other aspect of the supply chain. Each is part of a massive corp network that spans continents or even planets.
17. Fort Contacologies
It was normal for military bases in the Petroleum Era to be attached to a city, or a city would grow to service the base. Nothing has changed in this aspect of the Cosmic Era. Fort Contacologies originally grew around old military bases, using their ability to centralize resources like communications, defense, and power generators. The Cosmic Era Fort Contacologies are built around either a state military installation like a mechadrome, spaceport, or the most commonly, a capital weapon emplacement like anti-warship rail gun or anti-orbital missile battery. These contacologies follow the generic plans of Blackstones and Corporate models.
The most common problem around Fort Contacologies is that the facilities constantly have to deal with organized crime and vice industries like drugs, alcohol, sex work, and exorbitant/predatory lending. They are also considered liabilities to arcologies, because a fort is always going to be a target in hostilities.
18. The Plantations
The Plantations are a franchise of contacologies that are based around the concept of racial supremacy, and only one specific race is allowed inside. The most obvious example of the concept, The Plantations, accepts only white Euro or Amero residents. There are others that embrace the same white supremacist ideology. These settlements tend to run either as upscale white columns and flags in the breeze aristocracies, or as run down vertical trailer parks.
A common conceit is that the only racial contacologies are white supremacist. This is false, there are other races with their own settlements build around opposing integration, their own racial supremacy, and such. They are less common and much less visible than the chains of The Plantations, New Dixieland, and places named after Confederate generals.
19. New Amsterdam/Something Pretentious with Heart or Lover in the name
New Amsterdam Contacologies are for lovers, or more specifically people involved in the sex trade. These habs have a clear delineation between residents and tourists. The tourists are there to get laid in new and exciting, often degenerate ways, as well as getting high, and over-indulging in everything they can possible get their hands on. The residents clean up the mess and support the people who make the sin and vice possible. While the model is fundamentally exploitative in nature, and there is a lot of coercion and other negative elements, most view New Amsterdams, or Heartbreak Ridges, or Roseville's in much the same way that many people view Las Vegas, or other somewhat upscale places were prostitution is legal and most drugs are decriminalized.
New Amsterdams are producers, generating pornographic content for the CogNet, as well as being proving grounds for sex toys, sex bots, lingerie, and even elements of the fashion industry. Likewise, they will have a sort of internal culture in terms of food and ethnicity that can be drawn from and made into a cultural export.
One common fact that is routinely used as a yardstick is the scale of for profit incarceration, and the supporting massive legal system that existed in some western nations during the Petroleum Era. Many residents of the Cosmic Era like to feel smug and superior because they dont have millions of residents locked away in detention centers making prison corporations wealthy. There are still prisons, though they are less profitable now, and more commonly packaged as Greystones. A Greystone is a large, drab, utilitarian sort of contacology that would be very much at home in the writings of Russian authors, places that mix the industry of the west with the gulags of the east. The security in a Greystone is moderate at best, and their main method of detention is environmental. Greystones are in deep deserts, arctic tundra, high in the mountains, or even perched on rocky plinths out in the ocean. Even a few miles of bad terrain is more than enough to keep the residents contained.
Greystones are not for solitary offenders, they are for families. A person who is convicted of a certain sort of crime, one not serious enough to warrant exile or more extreme incarceration, will be sent to one of these, with their family, maybe even people they associated with to a large margin. If your neighbor is a dissident, and you have dinners and cookouts with them regularly, you might end up in the unit next to them in a Greystone, a long way from where you used to live. Resentment and tension runs high in these units, crime is common, and there are few distractions, and fewer luxuries.
21. Little Lamplight
When Little Lamplight was founded, it was a sort of Victorian Gaslight contacology, evoking a neo-Victorian flare and flirting with steampunk and faded murder dinner parties. It didn't last long and eventually grew to become a cesspit for one of the darker secrets of the Cosmic Era, neotenics. A neotenic is a person who through extensive use of hormone blockers and other treatments arrests physical development to render themselves permanently childlike and juvenile. This isn't just a matter of appearances, but literally arresting the maturation process so that sexual development is stopped completely. Welcome to Childe-Towne, the Red Light District is a place of nightmares, as is their Jack the Ripper celebration.
22. Little Belgrade
Little Belgrade is a derogatory term given to criminal contacoligies that are built around the worst of human trafficking, torture porn, and murder fetishes. These aren't so much deliberately built so much as they accumulate at the lowest point in a social structure of communities and cities. Many are allowed to exist as it keeps the worst elements in one place, other thrive as places of forbidden fruit and vast amounts of money. Regardless, a good firebombing or DFE would generally improve everywhere around a Little Belgrade, unless those places are highly dependent on warehouses where people can be tortured, raped, and murdered next door to a major drug factory, next to a money laundering facility.
23. Clone Ghetto
Clone Ghettos are Uncanny Valleys were clones escape from major cities and urban sprawls. They are deeply miserable and broken places as many clones are sterile, programmed, and otherwise engineered to specifically not congregate. This awkwardness and place to exist until death occurs is often seen as superior to the often horrific conditions that many clones experience in normal society. Clone Ghettos work hard to conceal themselves from the surface, suffer from regular and extreme shortages of basic needs, and often a single disease can roll through and wipe out an entire escaped clone population. Most are birds of a feather so an entire community might consist of one clone line.
24. Slave Towne
Slave Towne is a contacology made of trash used to house a slave/prisoner population. This can be a gulag, an enclosed ghetto, or a literal plantation where humans are held in bondage and forced to labor, breed, and support a socioeconomic system that they do not gain from.
25. Branch Davidians
AKA the Cult Contacology, the community is typically formed around a charismatic leader who is the social, religious, and economic focus of said community. While it does engage in economic activities, most are subsistence-level or rely on donations and fundraisers from missionaries working in the field. It is fairly common for the cult leader to have sexual privileges with the wives and children of the contacology. Insular and xenophobic stances are common, and most have highly ritualized systems of worship often including a Doomsday suicide pact.
26. Burning Man Redux
The difference between Burning Man and Redux is that while the former deals in catharsis, iconoclasm, and artistic expression, the latter celebrates the worst of wastelander culture. People at BM redux is that there is snuff, torture, slavery, and all the worst of the raiders culture.
The Watertown contacology is a settlement built around water collection, waste water recycling, sewer processing, or some other application of the water cycle. It smells bad, there are often dangerous levels of toxins, pathogens, and worse, and the only escape from the settlement is drugs or running away to join the military, a wastelander cult, or falling in a tank and drowning
The Disneyville Contacoligy is similar to an Imagimmunity in that they are both built around supporting a commercial/entertainment franchise. Where they differ is that the typical Disneyville has been bought out and restructured by a third party, and the residents have the option to play the roles and wear the costumes, which come out of their monthly allotment, or they can leave and or be detained by corp security. DisneyVilles also tend to be a bit more Wish and a little less Disney.
QuarantineVilles typically start as another type of contacology but are quarantined, and then the restriction is either never lifted, or the contacology develops a sort of mass formation hypochondria and refuses to allow the restrictions to be lifted. Some find intense comfort when placed in an isolated lockdown, reveling in the cultural submissiveness and public misery-marketing. The contagion in question need not be biological, Infected cyberwear, sentient programs in the local node, or an invasive cult, these are enough to put a generational lockdown in place, and on occasion, researchers and others can 'accidentally' be infected so as to keep the contacology from becoming an inbreeder facility.
Major landfills from the Petroluem Era are owned or leased by recycling corps, where their heavy machinery and the scavengers crews tear into the buried debris of the past and turn it into reusable plastic, metal, and other goods. There are thousands of lesser landfills around the world, those that served counties and towns, instead of megacities. A Landsville contacology is what happens when a picker refuge at a dump becomes an established settlement.
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