The city I have in my head is a mix of Casablanca, Burroughs’ Interzone, and the sort-of standard cyberpunk city; that is to say, a place that’s fantastical (Interzone), but firmly grounded in the real world, although disconnected from our First World understanding of a city (Casablanca). And because it’s a cyberpunk game, it needs to be a mix of chrome and stone, high-tech and low.
Another reason for Lagos specifically is because as a former British colony, Nigeria is recognizable today to an American - foreign, but not a place that’s so completely different I’d need to expend thousands of words to convey the social norms.
Yet, I want to not have it be “Chiba City” or Seattle or something either directly out of literature or that we, as players, have actually been to. I want it to be African; I want players to read up a little on it, and try to add that to the story.
The city is broken up into two main geographical areas: the “Island” and the “Mainland”. The Island is the area touching the lagoon and Atlantic ocean.
The Island districts are sometimes thought of as the “corporate zone”: it is the financial and commercial center. It contains some of the largest buildings in the world.
The total population of the city, as defined by the National Population Census of Nigeria for the “Lagos Metropolitan Region” is just over 42 million people. About 7 million live in the Island area, the remainder in the Mainland.
Lagos is sometimes called an “arcology of arcologies”: many of the buildings house their entire staff, and provide their own power and services.
As a result, many of its districts are given over entirely to single structures: for example, the district if Iddo is now a single structure owned by Kombinat, AG.
The explosive growth of the region during the mid-century years resulted in similar growth of the city, particularly the mainland areas.
It grew up as well as out; towering open structures housing millions, a dense lattice of scavenged materials and humanity. There structures are called “ile-ile”, from the Yoruba word for “housing estate”. They were simply built, squared-off pyramids, made from largely recycled and recovered materials. Connected by a light rail system, they formed the backbone of housing for nearly 35 million people.