A good friend of mine coined the term "commuter" to describe my propensity for visiting consistent, fleshed-out cities in semi-lucid dreams. I'm apparently not the only one she knows; people who've followed my LJ and had access to some of my filtered posts may remember my posts about St Nelle from a couple of years ago.
This morning, as I was stirring awake, I managed to quietly mumble to myself that the city I'd seen in the last night's dreams was the same as I'd been visiting in many other dreams for the last few months. The layout of the place appears to be consistent; for a while I'd assumed it was a dream-version of Seattle because, like that city, it's situated on a series of large, steep hills (small mountains in some cases) and that's pretty much how Seattle looks from the open spaces where you can get a good view. However, a lot of the details just weren't adding up.
Like the old, disused streetcar tunnel, surrounded on all sides by what used to be a long complex of underground factories and light industry. Disused for decades, it became part of the city's seedy underbelly for a while, then increasingly a refuge for squatters who turned it into a thriving underground market and series of apartments. Over time it's become one of the city's most celebrated venues; while portions of The Underground Market have begun catering to tourists (both foregin and locals who think of going there as slum-diving), the majority of it exists by and for the many people who don't fit -- an alternative, nearly-independent economy tolerated by the powers that be for the cultural richness it provides, and widely considered off-limits to outside jurisdiction. The people there are a real stew of diversity -- the descendents of all the disenfranchised, prosperous in the place their ancestors went to simply get out of the rain. And of course, a fair number of hipsters and altie or artsy types, grudgingly tolerated at the margins of the Market so long as they don't get too obnoxious (and keep bringing in the money). There are apartments retrofitted into some of the upper levels of the tunnel, and supposedly more in the sublevels (where outsiders typically aren't allowed to go at all).
Or the axial hill, larger and steeper than most of the ones in Seattle, with North and South slopes alike forming countless cities in miniature up and down it it.