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Industrial Ghetto

A slum district taken over or built around a nearby industrial district. The setting is often badly polluted and crippled by poverty, and/or the place is nearly all metallic due to all the leftover scrap metal and the proximity to the industrial machinery.

A protagonist might try to help the locals escape from living terribly here, but more often it simply serves as another backdrop in a Crapsack World or a more technologically advanced Empire, where there is little the protagonists can do but to move on forwards in their adventure. If the Industrial Ghetto is a recurring setting in the story, it's likely the protagonist is an Anti-Hero who will commit wrongdoings to get farther ahead than the rest, even if it's only going to be slightly better for them.

Although this is often a Dystopia, it can be Truth in Television, as industrial districts were often close to where the poor lived (likely so they could get to the factories faster, also most homeowners would rather not have them in their backyard). Cyberpunk stories taking place here are going to rain.

A Sister Trope to Wretched Hive, City Noir.

Compare Company Town, Nightmarish Factory, & Polluted Wasteland.

Not to be confused with Sci-Fi Ghetto.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Pokémon (anime) - Gringey City is heavily polluted and nearly abandoned due to the over-construction of seemingly automated factories, with barely any people or Pokémon around. The local Muk and Grimer eventually invaded and overran the power plant, shutting off all the electricity in the city.

Film

Literature
  • The Valley of Ashes in The Great Gatsby.
  • The Sprawl of the Sprawl Trilogy.
  • Subverted in Ruined City by Nevil Shute; the eponymous city used to fit the "heavily polluted" part of this trope and wasn't an especially attractive living environment by many standards, but the workers were unionised and the pay and conditions were fairly good. It only became a true ghetto when the Great Depression kicked in and the shipyard went out of business. The protagonist actually notes the lack of pollution, and describes the place as being "clean as a washed corpse".

Tabletop Games
  • The Redmond Barrens in Shadowrun for the Sega Genesis. They are only active because of the local nuclear power plant and the presence of the Yakuza.
  • The vast majority of Salt Lake City in Deadlands, to the point it is often called "The City o' Gloom" and the locals wear bandanas and breathing masks to survive.

Video Games
  • The undercity of Midgar and Junon in Final Fantasy VII.
  • The entire city of Vector in Final Fantasy VI.
  • The Fallout 3 expansion pack The Pitt has these, in addition to the Nightmarish Factory that is the Mill.
  • Carcer City from Manhunt is essentially this turned Up to Eleven, to the point where entire areas of the city have been abandoned to sadistic gangs.
  • Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 involves polluted water in the factory, with an entire city in a red hazy smog in the background.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Bilgewater Harbor has this feel.
    • Kezan has it even more. Basically anything the Goblins make or take over will at least start to show signs of this.
  • Omega in Mass Effect 2. It was originally a demi-planet full of element zero which had cracked open due to an asteroid impact, mining facilities were built on it to harvest the eezo. The expanding facilities were forced to build increasingly outward from the mineral deposits, forcing the construction into a long spire coming off one side. As the easy to access material was exhausted, it became a living and industrial hub for harvesting from other asteroids in its local belt. As those too were exhausted, it became a trading town, with lots of black market deals going on daily.
  • This is a very possible outcome of many versions of SimCity. You generally want to avoid placing residential zones next to industrial ones unless you want this to happen.
  • In Septerra Core, the Junkers of Shell 2 make a living scavenging the scrap dropped by the Chosen of Shell 1.
  • Bio-Hazard Battle: Stage 7 is a whole abandoned industrial complex.

Real Life
  • The Rust Belt and many industrial cities in the North of England are the inspiration for many fictional examples.
  • Back-to-backs, cheap houses which were boxed in on 3 sides, where often found in Victorian Britain in the inner-city near factories. They also had a reputation for being poorly built, poorly ventilated, and where the poorest people live, often just renting out 1 or 2 rooms. It got so bad laws were actually put in place to stop the building of them.


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