The Angles of Aslington
You guys remember Aslington, right? The home of
bone-idle very busy Parliamentarians and a bunch of embassies, across the river from Saviso, rated the world's best city for the last 391 years. Of course you do, everyone remembers Aslington if they know what's good for them. Aslington is one of my favourite places in Vodeo given how dense and cosmopolitan it is, a place where the world and Vodeo meet (come for the tropical fruits, stay for the air conditioning), but lovely as it is, it's bothered me for some time. As I mentioned in my diary entry last week, Aslington had bothered me because when I designed it, I'd put down a grid that I thought looked quite nice. As time went by, though, it turned out that the grid was not a Nice Grid, but was somewhat lopsided - it looked fine at a glance, but inspecting the buildings revealed Aslington's terrible secret - the streets that had been advertised as meeting at Nice Angles (90° if you absolutely must know) did not, and things didn't quite fit nicely. I'd tried to straighten a few of the streets out and fix a few errors, but with the suburb's density and the extent of the "grid", there wasn't much I could do short of tearing it down and starting again. So that's what I did.
Over the past week, I've been working on completely redoing the grid so that the streets would meet at Nice Angles, clearing out a lot of small and misshapen buildings, and rebuilding the suburb to look aesthetically pleasing. While Aslington's faulty grid was annoying, I still liked the overall look and feel of the suburb, so one of the guidelines I set for myself was to not change the look of the suburb too much - straighten the grid, add or move a few small squares, and design larger and better-looking buildings. Before works commenced, I made a note of all the streets and businesses that were deleted; some of these have made it back onto the map already, and as I continue, the rest will eventually appear.
One of the largest changes I've made was to turn lower Canning Street (oh that's right, I moved a whole bunch of streets around too, because why not) into something of an old-fashioned town square, hence the appearance of St Anne's Square and new sites for Provost and Fenwick Squares. Elsewhere, Parliament Buildings have a more stately look, as do the government buildings appearing around Stradon Avenue (formerly Parliament Street, the name of which has moved to occupy what was part of Adelaide Quay in the city centre); Elgin Square has been updated a little from its old look, while keeping some of the old version's features; the National War Memorial has moved from its temporary site atop Punt Hill to a more suitable location in Northland Common; and... a faulty grid. Look at Elgin and Purcell Streets, going off and doing their own thing and to hell with the orderly Nice Angles I've worked so hard to give Aslington. Still, they look pretty good like that, don't they? I liked the way Elgin Street bends around Northland Common and decided to use it to deliberately break the grid to make things interesting, while Alessa suggested another street running roughly north, hence Purcell Street contorting itself as it passes by the Mauretian embassy. It took a bit of work to get them looking satisfactory, but now I dare say they're excellent additions to the new grid.
Oh yes, that brings me to the embassies, the main reason why Aslington is such a nice place. Unfortunately, quite a few embassies had to go to make way for the new Aslington, but once the street layout has been finished, they'll make their way back to the map, albeit with new addresses. Others have come through none the worse for wear, but have popped up in different places to where they were, so keep an eye out for updates to the foreign relations page.
There are two brand-new additions to the map, going by the names of Readings and Godfree King. For many years now, I've struggled to come up with good names for discount department stores - Klappersacks wasn't a problem, but I could never nail a really good name, until I happened to come across a bookstore called Readings while doing map research on Melbourne. I loved the name so much that I decided to pinch it, switch the pronunciation (my one is RED-ing), and make it a department store. As for Godfree King, they've existed in Melbourne in one form or another for just shy of 150 years now (although around the other way as King and Godfree), so why would I add a real business to the map? Well as it so happens, a close friend of my family has heritage with the place - his family was involved in the running of the place back when it was a grocery store many decades ago, so I decided to throw it in as a nod to him. I'd like to note that the current King and Godfree is now a completely separate business from the long-gone one I'm basing mine on; my one is an early 20th century grocery store, not an early 21st century delicatessen. Since Aslington is heavily based on Melbourne's inner suburbs, I thought the two businesses were a nice touch.
From the outset, one of the parts of this plan was to put a railway line back through Aslington. The suburb originally had one, but I deleted it a while back because it looked like it had been shoehorned in, and it looked really bad. However, I couldn't find a good route for the line, even when Aslington was practically blank. By looking further afield though, an answer presented itself - Aslington won't have a railway line anymore, but Limes and Renoak will find they suddenly do. To make up for it, I'll work on getting the tram and metro lines up and running again in the coming days, because we can't have politicans unable to get to work, can we?
Finally, as a tribute to the victims of the horrific mosque attacks in Christchurch earlier this month, a humble mosque has appeared on Baillie Street between Elgin and Alma Streets. I'd like to think that it's a small reminder that there's all kinds of people in this world, so let's all try to get along in peace.
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