I've started a new unit in my geography class today and it's been inspiring. Let's talk about Iacon today. :D Hive cities as a whole tend to be kinda... messy. Most of them have numbered city levels, but dividing the city up unto these level systems is often pretty arbitrary. For example, in the Twin Cities (Tesarus and Border City), Levels 12, 13, and 15 in different parts of the joint city have nearly the same elevation. Levels 12 and 13 belong to Tesarus, where the city planners start counting at standard ground level, which in Tesarus is slightly higher than actual ground level; the difference in level numbers is down to an extra level squeezed into part of the city that was an extensive public market a very long time ago. Level 15 belongs to Border City, where the city planners start counting at the local basement level, which is the lowest practical level of the city. Iacon, particularly its upper levels, look comparatively neat from the outside. the city superstructure was designed around a now-obscured portion of the Solar Observatory, which now acts as a heavily-engineered central pillar holding up the weight of Upper Iacon. As a result, Upper Iacon looks like a singular large tower in profile, with the topmost fourteen city levels covering only a small portion of the hive city's overall footprint. Beneath this, the hive rapidly spreads out, diversifies, and gets Very Messy. Iacon has 47 numbered city levels in total, plus the Stellar Galleries which don't get a number because the extremely rich and important folks who live there like the veneer of exclusivity the lack of number gives their addresses. This is about twice as many numbered city levels as any other flatlands hive city -- Tyrest and Helex, both of which have a larger population than Iacon, have 21 and 16 official city levels. There are three factors giving Iacon its extreme height: first, the presence of the Solar Observatory, which gives Upper Iacon something to hang its weight on; second, Iacon counts quite a few 'mezzanine levels' among its total that might have been designated ancillary structures in other cities, like its' six 'transit levels'; and third... Iacon is just stupid rich, and can afford this sort of vanity building for height on a city-wide scale thanks to being the seat of the even more stupid rich Imperial government. There are six structures on Cybertron that are more than a league tall (2km or so), and they're all in Iacon. Level 47 as a whole sits at an elevation of about 2.1km above the surrounding Polar Depression, and the Alpha Preserve on top of the Solar Observatory is about 1.5km elevation. On a somewhat related note, Iacon does not have one city-wide weather shield because it's so fucking big and awkwardly shaped. There's one over the Citadel on Level 47, and most Towers estates have their own. Everyone else gets absolutely blasted with some of the shittiest weather on Cybertron. Yay capitalism! Iacon's 47 levels are divided into seven 'strata' by six more or less evenly spaced 'transit levels', which are dedicated to public transport, especially express rail and road networks. They serve as concentrated arterial routes, which takes the burden of mass traffic off the local traffic networks in other levels. You could go from one side of Iacon to the other on a normal city level, but taking the transit level is probably going to be a lot quicker. They also serve as sky lobbies for passenger elevators, and contain a lot of infrastructure like drainage systems, atmospheric scrubbing stations (smog can be a real issue in the lower levels), and electricity networks. The highest of these transit levels is Level 45, dividing High Iacon from Upper Iacon. These strata get mixed up and mentioned together all the time because honestly there's not a whole lot of difference between them. As a rule, High Iacon is dedicated to government and related services, plus Alpha Preserve and the Stellar Galleries, while Upper Iacon is where the vast majority of business happens. In High Iacon, Level 47 is built around the Citadel, the Imperial Government complex, and the Via Theophania, a wide ceremonial avenue that leads from the Palace of the Primes and Iacon Sanctuary to the High Council Pavilions. Level 46 is comprised of the Iacon Trade District (primarily made up of the flagship offices of various enormous business conglomerates and trade organizations), a few residential enclaves for the super-rich, retail clusters here and there, and the Forums. The Forum of Enlightenment is a cluster of educational organizations, government research enterprises, independent think-tanks of various political alignments, and related services like the Hall of Records. The Forum of Virtue is mostly religious institutions, law firms, and the parent body of the global Magisterium system. The Oratory Forum is the smallest, with a collection of independent media businesses and regulatory bodies clustered around the parent organization of the global Emporium system, and the media and communication hub of the Imperial Government. Each of the Forums has their own border security checkpoints, as does the Trade District and the Citadel. Upper Iacon's district borders aren't so defined. The Decagon is an entertainment district that occupies large, mostly contiguous chunks of the northern side of the city from Level 41 to 44; it has border checkpoints that are often heavily policed due to the amount of drunk revellers trying to get into and out of the district, but the rest of Upper Iacon tends to be a free-for-all of mecha trying to get the best deal on business and residential premises. Addresses here can be a mess. Level 40 is the lowest level of Upper Iacon; it's more of a mezzanine stuffed into what used to be some free space around the mountain that the hive city swallowed. As a result, it's smaller and darker than the rest of Upper Iacon, and has significantly cheaper 'land' prices, so it's full of Upper Iacon's low-caste workers. Level 39 is another transit level, dividing Upper Iacon from... Upper Central Iacon. (They're not particularly imaginative names.) At Transit Level 32, Upper Central Iacon gives way to Central Iacon, and at Transit Level 24, you pass into Lower Central Iacon. Below Transit Level 15, Lower Iacon begins, and below Transit Level 6, the Iacon Undercity begins. Due to the Polar Depression, the planetary standard ground level is at about City Level 5, while the actual local ground level varies from City Level 4 beneath the Solar Observatory to City Level 1 in parts of Iacon South. I really need to draw myself a local map lmao.