Aspera

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Aspera is the capital and largest city of Kanitario, in the Federal States. At a population around 2.4 million, the city is one of the largest in the Federal States. It's a national and sometimes global hub for finance, tech, media, and transportation. Many national corporations have set up their headquarters or offices in the city.

The city has exploded in recent years, and nowadays is the city with the most construction cranes in the world.

13, -42.0578, 139.2727
Aspera, Kanitario
State Capital of Kanitario
Top to bottom, left to right: Skyline from Aspera Islands, condo tower under construction, streetscape, subway, City Hall, the Royal Kanitario Hotel and Union Station from the Grand Lakes Tower, a fall rainstorm arrives in Aspera, Metro Fairgrounds and Metropolitan Field from the Grand Lakes Tower.
CountryFlag of the FSA.svg Federal States
 • StateKanitario
DemonymAsperan
Government
 • MayorJennifer Calumet
Elevation274 m (84 ft)
Population
 • Estimate (2019)2,912,449
Telephone Code416/647/437
Metro9 subway, 4 light rail

History

Early history

The earliest known settlement on the site of present-day Aspera can be traced to nearly 9,000 years ago. The indigenous Angorqin people established what was known as A'kspraa (Where The Water Meets in Angorkian) on the shores of Lake TBD. Much of the aboriginal history of the area is unknown, although it is known that multiple tribes inhabited the area.

A'kspraa had mostly been abandoned by the time the first settlers arrived. Ingerish explorers had navigated the Great Lakes system, and had eventually reached the settlement. The area along the entirety of Lake TBD's western shore had been deemed "Kanitario", likely a mispronunciation of the native "Kanasaro", which meant "Long, Flat Shore" in Angorkian.

Kanitario had become an inland Ingerish colony, with the capital being established at Frontenac. A small village had been established at Aspera, known as James Bay. By 1740, the village had a population of only 73 people.

By the mid-1780s, tensions with the nearby Federal States had reached a peak. Having recently declared independence, the FS was in a position to completely overtake the colony. Out of fear, Lieutenant Governor John Andersen decided to move the seat of the government somewhere safer - after all, Frontenac sat less than 25 miles from the Federal States shoreline. Andersen moved southwards along the coast, and stopped when he reached modern-day Aspera - the southward-facing orientation, sheltered bay and island chain would do a great job at protecting the city from naval attacks. Thus, in 1793, Andersen established the town of Anchor Bay. Between 1794 and 1800, a small town would be established, centered around the Kanitario Parliament Buildings located on present-day Governor St. By the Eastern Gap, the only entrance and exit to the harbour, Fort Anchor sat as the city's protector.

The Siege of Anchor Bay

War broke out between the Federal States and Kanitario on June 3, 1811. The war had remained slow, with a few naval attacks being repelled. However, in the early morning hours of April 4, 1812, the Federal States Navy could be seen on the horizon - the city was under attack.

The majority of the ships docked in the protection of Gloucester Bay and allowed their troops to land there. From there, the plan was to march into the city and claim it within a few days. The attacking fleet comprised of 12 ships. 2 of these were sunk before reaching the shore by on-land artillery. One ship ran aground on the Outer Sandbar (now the Aspera Islands). The remaining 9 offloaded their troops, which marched towards Fort Anchor. A fierce battle ensued, during which the FS army gained the upper hand.

The retreating Kanitarian/Ingerish troops, led by General Dartmouth, ignited the underground gunpowder magazines in the fort. The explosion decimated Fort Anchor and killed many troops on both sides. The crushing blow, however, was dealt to the Federal Army, who had lost nearly a third of their troops.

Because of the losses from the rough landing and fort explosion, Federal troops feared they wouldn't be able to maintain their hold on the city. Their new strategy was simple: Pillage the town, burn it down, then leave. The majority of the small town had either burnt down, collapsed or exploded, including the parliament buildings and fort. The Federal States decided war was pointless, and a peace treaty was signed on the 17th of April, 1812, in Huntington.

Growth

After the siege, the town had rebuilt. The fort was, for the most part, left in ruins, with a few surviving buildings rebuilt to serve as artifacts. The city would see little growth until the 1840s, when industry began to take off. Most notably, the Trinity Brewery Complex in the city's East End. It was around this point that the city began to realize its potential. Dredging, land expansion and dock construction commenced along the city's waterfront. The first Union Station was built in 1862, as the Grand Kanitario Railway was built through the area.

The age of transportation had begun, with steamships bound for the ports of the (now friendly) Federal States and trains headed off to neighbouring countries. A flood of immigrants began in the 1880s, nearly tripling the city's population. After the first Great Fire in 1884, the Town of Anchor Bay had decided it was time for a rebranding. Thus, on August 1, 1885, the Town of Anchor Bay reincorporated as the City of Aspera. In 1912, the Ondassagam Waterway opened, which led to Aspera's growth turning astronomical. Ships could now reach the rest of the Great Lakes. This made Aspera the furthest west major city along the navigable Great Lakes, a title formerly belonging to Lake City, where the waterway started.

As a result, industry growth had skyrocketed as well, and that gave Aspera the nickname "The Working City".

Standstill

The economy had largely stagnated by 1975. Industries either shut down or moved out, including some of the more major manufacturing plants and secondary industries the city had relied on. The rough political climate surrounding independence and international relations resulted in companies outsourcing their work to other countries or moving out entirely, resulting in a knock-on effect. The city's population, peaking at 785,000 in 1973, began to drop. Funding to various municipal services, including police, education, and transportation was cut, resulting in a drastic increase in crime and overall decrease in quality of life.

With nowhere else to turn, the Kanitario government had three options: they could remain under indirect Ingerland control and continue to ask for support, declare independence and go it alone, or join the Federal States. The most notable event during this time was when Free Kanitario, a rebel terrorist organization, bombed the Aspera Stock Exchange in 1982, killing 27 people. It almost seemed like it couldn't get any worse for the area.

It would continue to get worse for the area.

The Big One

Artwork by graphic designer Mark Nolbell, who lived on the city's West Side in 1987. The work was featured on the cover of The Asperan Magazine's special issue following the quake.

On August 2, 1987, at 2:55PM, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the Westlake Fault in Lake TBD. The epicenter was shallow and roughly 30 km from downtown Aspera. The earthquake and ensuing aftershocks leveled much of the city, killed in excess of 300 people, and caused seemingly irreparable damage to the city's image.

The largest casualty was the Fort Anchor Expressway, which saw most of its 4.4-mile elevated deck fall onto the streets below. The road had been in disrepair following cuts to the transport budget. Union Station saw much of the main ceiling in the Great Hall fall in. Exhibition Stadium, which had been hosting a game between the Aspera Falcons and the Stanton Green Socks, had large sections of the seating decks crumble. Luckily, nobody really cared about the Falcons at the time so the stadium was mostly empty.

Gas mains ruptured, starting large fires throughout the city. Bridges, tunnels, the subway, and other transport infrastructure had also taken hits. The airport was closed in excess of a week. The freeway network had almost completely shut down. Mayor David Andhoff declared a state of emergency, which wouldn't be lifted for three months following the quake.

Damage was limited beyond the Aspera metro area. The shaking was felt strongly in Frontenac, Waukaken and Lake City, although minimal damage was reported there.

What seemed like a tragedy at first had actually marked the turning point for Aspera.

Reconstruction

The flag of Aspera, adopted after the earthquake. The seven stars reprsent the seven former cities that made up Aspera, amalgamated during reconstruction. The orange represents the sunrise over the Western Great Lake. The curved white lines represent new City Hall.

On July 1, 1988, Kanitario officially joined the Federal States, with a ceremony on the Kanitario - Wychelle Interstate Bridge. The new federal government began to provide billions of dollars into the reconstruction of Aspera and the surrounding area, to not just recover from the 1987 earthquake, but the years of urban decay and neglect.

In 1989, the Aspera Reconstruction and Transformation (ART) project was announced, culminating in the bid for Expo '92. The waterfront of the city, blighted by abandoned warehouses and rail spurs, was razed in preparation. Later that year, it was announced that Aspera had won the bid, which led to more government funding to the neglected region. A number of projects were built as a direct result of the Expo:

  • Great Lakes Tower, 1992
  • MetroDome, 1991
  • Expo City, 1992
  • Kanitario Convention Centre, 1990
  • New City Hall, 1993
  • Relocating the Royal Kanitario Museum and Art Gallery of Kanitario to new facilities
  • Subway expansion projects and light rail lines
  • Airport expansion

Expo '92

Main article: Expo '92

The Expo was held between May 5 and October 22, 1992. It attracted 3.6 million people from around the world. The theme was "Creating a Brand New City", which was to showcase the reconstruction of Aspera and how aspects can be applied to other cities.

The Post-Expo Days

The downtown core of Aspera, from the observation deck of the Grand Lakes Tower. The Financial District is visible in the foreground. City Hall, Union Station, and the Scandlan Bluffs can be seen as well.

The expo's true intention was to showcase the new Aspera. It was considered a roaring success, and the benefits Aspera reaped continue to this day. It jump-started the municipal economy and convinced large businesses to migrate there. The city was being widely showcased as an attractive place to live and work, and that meant people moved there in droves from across the FSA and around the world. The population skyrocketed, from just over 600,000 in 1986 to 2.6 million in 2016. The financial district had been built from almost nothing.

The side effect of this growth was that Aspera became one of the most multicultural cities in the world - People flocked in from across the world to the new city. This has led to the explosion of multicultural neighbourhoods, some of them having roots going long into the city's history. Some of the most famous include the Grange Market, University Row, The Triangle, and Commoniatown.

Amalgamation

In 2007, the seven cities that formed Metropolitan Aspera were amalgamated to become the City of Aspera.

Old Aspera/City of Aspera

Comprised of the downtown and midtown core, Expo City, and the Gloucester Bay areas, Old Aspera was the most populous of the seven cities.

East Anchor
Scandlan
Yorkmill
Camden
City 6
City 7

Transportation

Public transit

The Aspera Transportation Commission (ATC) runs the subway, bus, light rail and streetcar networks in the city. It's been renowned as being one of the best transit authorities in the FSA. They operate nine subway lines, over 200 surface bus routes, 6 light rail and 16 streetcar lines.

Asperalink operates the suburban commuter railways, connecting Aspera Union Station to the city's inner and outer suburbs. Founded in 1966, this is the earliest such example of a commuter railway in Archanta. The city is connected at Union Station to ArchRail services across the FSA. In downtown, the Aspera Bus Terminal is the central hub of intercity bus travel in Kanitario. Intercity buses connect from as far away as Stanton and Aldanta.

Freeways

Several freeways cross the city. In the north, Kanitario state highway K401 is one of the busiest highways in the country. A full express/collector system is used, and at its peak the road is 24 lanes wide. Highway K401, also known as [TBD], is the main north-south backbone of Kanitario, and connects the capital to the south border with the UCP and the Kanitario - Wychelle Interstate Bridge, the only land connection to the rest of the FSA. In downtown, the Expo Expressway (K404) links the K401 to the east side. The Gateway Expressway connects that to Lake and Gateway avenues, divided expressway-like streets in downtown. To the west, K437 links the city to the other cities in the Greater Aspera Area, like Shelburne and Barton.

Air travel

Aspera - Borden International Airport is the busiest airport in the state, and one of the busiest and largest in the FSA. Borden sees almost 50 million annual passengers. The airport was first built in 1938 and became an international airport in 1956. The airport is located about 24 km northwest of downtown and is accessible by subway, Asperalink, regional bus connections, ArchRail, and freeways.

The city is also home to Metropolitan Airport, which provides local flights across the Lakes region. It's located on an island immediately off the west side of downtown. This airport was a military training airport in the 1940s, and has been used for civilian use ever since. This airport is known for its close proximity to downtown, being a 10 minute streetcar ride from Union Station. The approaches to Metropolitan are particularly striking, as the aircraft lands in the shadow of Aspera's skyline.

Ferries

Aspera is well-linked by water as well. Local, interstate and international ferries utilize the Aspera Ferry Building and connect the city via the Great Lakes to other neighbouring cities. Aspera is the headquarters and primary hub of Great Lakes Interstate Ferries.

Aspera is also home to a cruise ship terminal, as Great Lakes cruising is beginning to take off.

Geography

See: Neighbourhoods of Aspera

The city sits on a bay on the south half of the [unnamed Great Lake]. Many rivers have formed valleys throughout the city. To the east, sheer cliffs drop into the sea.

Demographics

Weather

Economy

(Main article: Economy of Kanitario)

The city's economy relies heavily on financial services, transportation, and other businesses. Some of the companies headquartered in Aspera include:

  • Air Kanitario (airline)
  • Kanitario Southern Railways (freight railway)
  • Great Lakes Western Railway (freight railway)
  • Kanitario Steamship Lines (Great Lakes freighter company)
  • Bank of Kanitario (bank)
  • Astrabank (bank)
  • Great Lakes Intercity Ferries (passenger ferries)

The city is also home to the Aspera Stock Exchange.

In recent years, Aspera has become a hub for tourism. In 2018, the city welcomed a record 55 million visitors, making it one of the most visited cities in the FSA.

Professional Sports

Aspera is home to several sports teams:

Aspera Falcons: baseball

The Falcons, established in 1977, compete in the FSA's baseball league. The league chose Aspera as its first and only international expansion, however, since Aspera has joined the FSA, the league now has no teams outside the country. They play in the MetroDome, a 52,000-seat stadium built on the city's waterfront in 1991. They were known as the Aspera Metros until 2003, when a rebranding of the team led to the new name. The rebranding has proved effective, as the team has won three championships since then.

Aspera Arsenal: ice hockey

The Arsenal are part of the original group of hockey teams that founded the FSA's hockey league. They haven't won a championship since 1971, which has become a joke among Asperans. People in Aspera love ice hockey, however, and are very fond of the Arsenal. They play in the Great Lakes Arena, a 24,000-seat multi-use arena which was built in 1996. Their former home, Arsenal Gardens on University Street, is nicknamed "The Cathedral of Ice Hockey".

Aspera Asteriods: basketball

The Asteroids were brought to Aspera in 1995, after being moved from [another FSA city]. They've become very popular over the last few years, due in part to celebrities often being seen at Asteroids games. Despite this, they've never won a championship. They also play in Great Lakes Arena, which was built to accomidate them, alongside the Arsenal. While the arena was being built, however, they played in the MetroDome. This season proved very unpopular.

Aspera FC: soccer/football

The FC are the most recent addition to Aspera's sports scene. Arriving as part of an FSA soccer league expansion, the FC arrived in Aspera in 2007. To accomidate, the city built Metropolitan Field, a 46,000-seat multi-use outdoor stadium. They, too, have proved popular in recent years.

Aspera Expos: gridiron football

While Aspera doesn't officially have a gridiron team at the moment, the city's population have proven to be fans, as the Lake City Minutemen occasionally play exhibition games in the city. Talk of bringing a team to the city has been in motion ever since the mid-90s, and the city is considering placing a serious bid for the next league expansion. The Expos would play at an expanded Metropolitan Field.