Most of the story takes place in a tiered city, which is divided into the upper tiers, middle tiers and lower tiers. It is essentially a vertically built city made of buildings stacked atop of other buildings.
There are trains that connect the tiers for public transportation, as well as roads for cars. The very lowest tier is presumably the surface of the planet; the tiers closest to the planet are also known as the bottom tiers.
The tiers are counted in number, and around tier 155, the stars are visible while the lower tiers are not.
Much of the growing tensions between the classes is due to the class structure that follows from the harsh division of the tiers.
The lower tiers also include the bottom tiers, which are the tiers closest to the surface of the planet. The planet at this point has so much radiation and pollution, anyone who lives around the lower tiers is susceptible to mutations due to exposure. This is why the lower tiers have more mutants, while the middle and upper tiers don't. Mutations are seen as a sign of 'low class', regardless of how 'useful' the mutation may be.
It is more densely populated in the lower and middle tiers, compared to the upper tiers. The upper tiers are more sparsely populated with larger residences and parks. The higher up the city is, the less polluted it gets.
The following is word for word from Comic 210 - Ask about politics :
The city has a mayor, who is mostly beholden to the city council. The power of either is debatable--they're mostly just figureheads for the corporations. The city technically operates as a democracy, but with several caveats.
For instance, it is typically easier to access a voting booth in the upper and middle tiers than it is the lower tiers. "Safety" is often cited as the reason why. Because the upper tiers have a smaller population, their votes are weighted as more than those of the lower tiers. For this reason, the results of any given election often rely on the tiers toward the middle--they work as a tie breaker between the top and bottom of the city.
There are technically state representatives and a president that cover a broader range than the city alone, but cities have more power and rights than the state or nation. The focus of the power of law has steadily narrowed over time--there's even politicians now fighting for the power of individual tiers, citing that some crimes should be punished more harshly if committed in certain tiers. This isn't wholly accepted by the public yet, however.
The political climate is particularly unpleasant at this time. The tier divisions already cause harsh class distinctions and prejudice; Thale, on top of this, has been orchestrating events to cause even more dissension and cause for a class war between the lower and middle tiers.
The news has been manipulated to particularly focus on the increase in crime from people in the lower tiers, committing more acts of arson, vandalism, theft, and violence against people from the middle tiers. It would seem that the upper tiers are turning attention away from them, to mask or disguise something bad they are planning.
Law enforcement is privatised in this city, like just about everything. Officers of the law - including firefighters and other similar jobs - must be hired on an individual basis, or signed to a long term contract. Most corporations actually hire their own personal law enforcement squads for protection. This generally means that (competent) law enforcement favours those with money or political pull.
This leads to law enforcement not typically being immediately helpful in situations like being stuck in a nightmare hospital with a monster that could destroy a good portion of the population. Dr. Finch can attest to how well calling the police works, in such situations. (That is to say, it does not.)
As an aside, in the upper tiers, there are some dirty cops that frequent the lower tiers for drugs.
This is a modern era with cellphones, television and cars. It also has some accelerated spots of future technology.
Cloning is a science that has yet to be fully perfected, but it is actually possible in this world's day and age. There is a process for downloading memories, and uploading them into a clone. It is, however, a very expensive process, and still seen as risky due to it messing with personalities and priorities - sometimes a clone will turn out staight-up crazy.
Elevators in this world are mostly magnetic. Pulley elevators are seen as outdated.
EM Field InductionEdit
Electricity in this world is mostly automated, so there are hardly any switches for lights in facilities like hospitals. Power outlets are unusual, since most devices use EM field induction now. EMF coils are built into the walls and rooted in the buildings above and below (as this city is a tiered one) - some devices could strip a sizable radius of its power, but to manufacture (or procure) such a device would take some effort.
In terms of how advanced space travel is in this world, lunar colonies haven't started yet, but the technology is getting closer and closer to being there. Colonisation of the moon will happen sooner than later.
Man has made it to Mars via ship, but not much was done with it after that. Space programs took a vacation until the threat of pollution built up too much to ignore - everyone in power suddenly changed tunes from "the pollution is no big deal, get over it" to "we need to put cities on the moon, like, tomorrow."
Likewise, getting people to Mars will likely just be seen as a novelty (or a hobby of weird rich people like Thale Sr) until something goes wrong with the moon.