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Had anybody planned the city of Liberty properly, they would have realised that it would need more accommodation than could be fitted into the upper floors of buildings in the Merchant Quarter. Also whilst the Shanties expanded rapidly to cope with the influx of workers, there was still a demand for better housing. Initially there seems to have been plans to build a pleasant suburb for office workers just north of the Administrative district. This would have been convenient for commuting, and architects were already planning riverside pleasances and parks. Then the Bretag/Grelfarl war broke out and the area earmarked for executive housing became a trench line. 

It was at this point that the city authorities decided to develop the Western Suburbs. The need for housing was now urgent. Thus orders went out to build a large number of ‘pleasant villas’. These were built on firm ground (or at least ground which wasn’t floating,) and were assembled rapidly. The basic technique was simple, the shuttering was erected and the concrete was poured. Because of the large amount of slag produced by the many blast furnaces, finely ground slag was incorporated, producing a hydraulic cement. Under the circumstances this was remarkably useful.

The advantages to this method are obvious, you can erect a lot of houses in a comparatively short time. This disadvantage is that there were only three designs of shuttering so there are only three types of villa. (There are rumours that there was a fourth design which was also used, but those villas supposedly build using this design turn out, on examination, to be conventional villas that have been modified subsequently by their owners.)

In an attempt to differentiate their homes, the inhabitants have taken to personalising them. Fashions come and go. At one point, applying stucco, often with cast panels depicting scenes from legend, was all the rage. Others used pebble dash, rough cast, or merely painted their home in pastel shades. (Again note well that all races live in the Western Suburbs, and their receptivity to radiation in the optical spectrum varies. Thus what is pleasantly pastel to one race can be disconcertingly harsh to another. Hence the resident’s association has a list of paints, carefully graded by the wavelengths they absorb and reflect. Thus good taste is maintained. The maintaining of good taste is, fortunately, less difficult than it was in the days of stucco panels. One house holder’s tastefully painted scene from legend was in the eyes of a neighbour, a gory massacre scene. Still most of these problems can be ironed out with good will on both sides.)

Finally, a villa can be rendered different from its neighbours by the nature of the garden. Because of the widely differing cultural heritage of the inhabitants, the gardens also differ. Some will grow a strictly formal garden of vegetables, others prefer a riot of colour from densely packed bushes. Yet others like the simplicity of a lawn. Still, as Andrea Hammer, Chair of the Residents’ Association once commented when somebody complained that this gave a bad impression

“Yeah, well, whatever.”


  • 230gr

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