User:Louis walker/Bliki/Sept 20 2019
Can I Get a Witness?
Unique Seniqe, Unique Seniqe, Unique Seniqe, Unique Seniqe...
Due to some fortuitous timing, I wound up having most of the summer off. This meant I had a considerable chunk of time with nothing to do, while most of the people I knew were at work each day. I decided to map as much of Seniqe, one of the cities along the Strait of Abren, as I possibly could. My goal was to map the street grid and high-level infrastructure (rail, motorways, etc) within a 10km radius of the city center. I haven't *quite* gotten there but it's pretty close (coverage ranges from 7-10km out from the center) and I'm starting to experience a bit of carto-fatigue! Since I'm headed back to the daily 9-5 grind on Monday, this seemed like a good time to come up for a bit of air and ask for community feedback.
I've used a pan-Mediterranean slew of references—Istanbul, Athens, Izmir, Algiers, Barcelona, Seville, Tangiers, Haifa, and Beirut, to name a few—and I've been pretty happy with the results so far...but it can always improve! I'd really love to get some general reactions to the shape and feel of the city and its metropolitan region. I've pulled out a few of my favorite bits to share, and I'm ending this bliki with some specific questions that I could really use some of your help with. Without further ado...
Al-Madinat Almusawara (Ancient Walled City)
After I got the very basic top level stuff figured out (mountain ranges, the basic motorway and primary road network, etc) I started detailed street grid work here, in the city's historic heart, and have been working outward over the past six weeks. It was extremely important to me to get this area right, and capture the densely clustered, almost claustrophobic feel of ancient medinas; it's a different feel from Euro city centers, so I did quite a bit of research to try to get the street patterns correct.
I tried a few different tagging systems and was happiest with what you see now: there are a few 'major' streets (which would probably be around 7-10 meters wide at most) which are tagged with living_street since they'd provide the easiest access for limited automobile traffic. The secondary streets that branch off from these are tagged as basic service roads. These look a bit narrower on the map, which communicates their more intimate scale of 3-6 meters with. Finally, semi-private dead-end or internal cluster streets are tagged service=driveway, which creates one of the finest widths.
I love the effect of this for two reasons: first, it feels more visually authentic to what walking around a place like this is actually like in real life. And second, with the way that the different street types are rendered at different levels, the neighborhood reveals itself in more and more detail as you zoom in. It feels like it sparks some curiosity and draws the viewer in, much like narrow twisty streets in ancient city centers create that sense that you never know what you'll come across around the next corner.
Madinat Al-Quda (Magistrate's City)
While Dematisna's legislative and executive branches of government are located across the Strait of Abren in Asithane, Seniqe got the Judicial branch when the country won its independence in 1969. At that point, the rocky hills at the entrance to Al-Hilal Hafin (the Crescent Haven), Seniqe's harbor, were largely bare, except for a few hardscrabble hillside neighborhoods. The site was developed as a center for the administration of justice, with all of the attendant pomp and circumstance. Here I've done a decent amount of detailed mapping. The central courts complex, with its huge brise-soleil, Arc of Justice sculpture, and Modernist landscape took forever, but feels worth it. Behind it is a model neighborhood built to house the families of court employees, with each block containing 'pods' of four duplexes designed to provide generous semi-private green space at a relatively high population density.
To the left is the hilltop Abrenic Angel of Peace, a towering, sculptural concrete monument inspired by Algiers' Martyrs Memorial. You can reach the monument's platform, with its sweeping views, cafe, and gift shop, either by walking up the terraced mall or riding the incline to the top. The sculpture is meant to be one of Seniqe's most recognizable monuments, a la Christ the Redeemer in Rio. Again, it took quite a bit of time to complete since each panel had to be mapped individually, but it was worth the investment!
Finally, to the right of the courts complex is the hilltop General Shahrazad Fortress. It's one of four forts built to protect the entrance to Seniqe's harbor, which together form the "Iron Diamond" that made entering the Crescent Haven virtually impossible for centuries, keeping the city safe from attack by sea. The forts were created as placeholders (you can still see the other three, which are quite basic) but I spent some time re-working Shahrazad yesterday, inspired by [[User:Le_Mathou|Le Mathou's wonderful work in Rivador. The fort is named for the first leader of Dematisna's armed forces, and its grounds now include the Museum of Independence, a Modernist landmark added in the 1970s.
Al-Tulal Alshamalia (North Hills)
I don't have as much to ramble on about here—I've just had a lot of fun learning how to do convincing high-density hilly neighborhoods (by looking at A LOT of reference maps) and I feel like the North Hills section of the city is the most realistic looking area I've done so far. It would be great to hear whether other, fresher eyes have as favorable a view of this work! I have a lot more hills to look forward to as I continue mapping the metro, so if you have thoughts, please share.
I certainly can't take credit for everything that you'll see in Seniqe. One of my ambitions in mapping a city this large is to create a real 'global city' in the very specific OGF sense -- meaning that I'd love to have people from all over the OGF world add contributions to the city. Whatever you like mapping most, please get in touch if you're interested in contributing some details to the area. Lyriax has been mapping a fantastic airport on the city's south side, while Moskva has been turning my simple motorway crossroads into detailed interchanges and helping me think through the overall motorway system. Eklas provided some extremely helpful guidance as I worked to plan out stations and routes for the rail network, and Alessa has been working behind the scenes to flesh out the historical growth of the Mauroi Christic church in the Taylia section of the city.
1) What should I focus on next? Obviously the streets will continue to spread outward, but I'm in the mood to add some more details. Police, fire, and hospitals are mapped in the central area, but other than that there are plenty of systems that need creating. What do you feel is most important to creating a sense of place?
2) Are there any neighborhoods that don't look quite right? There are a couple of areas that just don't *quite* feel right to me, but I'd prefer not to say which and see what other people think. If something jumps out in a bad way, please say so!
3) Anybody interested in helping me create a transit system? It's going to be a big job, and it's not my specialty...I can learn, but I know there are a lot of transit-heads on OGF, and perhaps someone would like to collaborate on this essential but kind of overwhelming task?
Comments, Questions, Ideas, Musings, Collabs, Etc.
Please share (and sign) any thoughts below. I'm always open to constructive feedback! :)