Aurora

Aurora est souvent décrite comme un quartier de rêve, paisible ou même cauchemardesque selon la situation du locataire et des circonstances. Jouxtant Downtown, les lotissements sont constitués de structures moyennes aux allures communes mélangeant bureaux et appartements et donnant une impression morne et terne. Sans frontière véritable au nord, au sud et à l’ouest, le quartier s’ouvre pour afficher ses arbres caractéristiques, ses aménagements paysagers et ses bâtiments du 20ième siècle bien entretenus qui semblent irréels et presque oniriques. Beaucoup de ces bâtiments arborent des décorations ou des particularités très différentes de leur style architectural. Par exemple, des maisons construites à la fois en bois et en brique ou à l’élégance moderne surmontées d’antennes des années 50 et de lampes à gaz des années 1800. À l’ouest, prédominent la zone résidentielle (principalement des maisons mitoyennes) laissant place graduellement aux habitations les plus larges de Bayview. Ironiquement, l’avenue de Lumière, un lotissement aux rues larges et bordées d’immeubles graffés comme des murs de prison et la zone la plus patrouillée de la ville  car infestée par un bazar cauchemardesque de crimes. Aurora

Environs

  • Une légère surélévation de la topographie de la crête de l’Aube donne son nom à la zone alentour. Ce quartier a été reconstruit plusieurs fois et est désormais un mélange éclectique de styles internationaux, postmodernes, et d’autres style ayant survécus comme un style industriel aux usines réaffectées ou vieux colonial. Les rues bordées d’alignement d’arbres font la particularité d’Aurora. La crête de l’Aube et aussi une zone commerçante comprenant à la fois de petits magasins et des grosses enseignes . Aucun building n’est présent dans ce quartier mais quelques bureaux de bord de mer ont une hauteur respectable.
  • Eos Park est idéal pour la plupart de ses structures de style “International” qui atteignent jusqu’à 14 étages de haut (hauteur moyenne). Ce quartier se compose originairement de parcs de bureaux aux styles modernes et internationaux parsemés de parkings et d’espaces ornementaux arborés et de quelques fontaines. Eos Park est plus aéré que les espaces denses comme à Downtown.
  • Hollybriar se présente plutôt comme une zone banlieue sans relief à la droite du coeur de Titan City. A large swath of the indigenous forest has been maintained, though it has been slowly shrinking as developers encroach further and further into its domain. Most of the homes here date back to the 1940s and ‘50s, with the peaceful, picturesque setting where children can walk to school safely and block parties are the norm.
  • The most built-up section of Aurora, Light Street borders the Downtown neighborhood of Common Street. Most of the structures in this neighborhood date from the 1960s and ‘70s, mid-rises in the “International” style that are primarily brick or plaster-faced, and nothing predates the Great Fire of 1908. Most of the buildings are offices, though there are a few apartment buildings, which add a more urban feel to the neighborhood, including sports courts and play areas. Grafitti when found is relatively uncommon, likely caused by the heavy police presence centering around the Titan City Police Department headquarters building.
  • Named for a small, open area surrounded by brownstones, Waltzer Square is the wealthiest part of Aurora. It was originally redeveloped from farmland to townhouses in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and received an additional economic boost from wealthy individuals displaced from the city center by the fire of 1908. Today, it combines historic townhouses with well-kept, historic detached homes, interspersed with spots of greenery and a few upscale retailers. Like most parts of Aurora, Waltzer Square has retained its large, spreading trees, which shade many of the residential streets completely in the spring, summer, and fall months.

History

In the 1800s, Aurora was farmland, speckled with a few houses for fishermen along the southern waterfront. When fortunes in the area began to rise, many residents who were too wealthy and proud to remain in rural surroundings but not wealthy enough to move in the upper circles of Bayview’s elite moved east. These settled in the area now called Waltzer Square. At the same time, the city began to encroach from further east. A Thoroughfare known as « Light Street, » so called because it was the furthest western edge of the city’s gas lamp system, became the unofficial border for urban development. A few industrialists also built small factories in the former farmland between the two bands of settlement or near the waterfront.

The fire of 1908 swept through Light Street but spared the rest of the area. On the whole, the fire of 1908 proved a boon to Aurora. Middle class and some wealthier residents of the city center, displaced by the fire, flocked to Aurora, and the residential areas on its west side began to expand. During the first few decades of the twentieth century, this area adopted the name « Waltzer Square » from one of its many small plazas and became known for its elegant townhouses and spreading shade trees. Indeed, Aurora’s trees and small, public green spaces have become one of the characteristic features of the area.
In 1934, the lighthouse burned down, and most of the waterfront warehouses and other industrial buildings began a slow decline into abandonment and neglect.

After World War II, business leaders sought to reverse this trend and turn the area into a retail center for the district. The decades after World War II also saw increased demands for housing and office space encouraged the subdivision of Aurora’s remaining farms and the demolition of most of its industrial sites.
Over the course of the early twentieth century, Light Street was rebuilt with a mixture of apartment blocks and office space. In 1955, it became the site of the city’s new police headquarters, placed here because of its centralized location and considerable space for development (at the time). Like nearby Common Street in downtown, it suffered from the urban economic downturns of the second half of the century, and it remains the poorest among Aurora’s many middle-class neighborhoods.

By the 1960’s, Aurora had become known as a center for middle class apartments and a few detached homes, as well as prime office space. This trend culminated with the opening of Eos Park, Titan City’s first « office park » (and one of the first in the country).
The Daybreak Ridge waterfront has been redeveloped several times; most recently in the 1990’s when the abandoned industrial buildings were converted into retail and residential space. Today, Daybreak Ridge is one of the most eclectic and dynamic areas in the city, widely praised for its thriving mix of apartments, condos, offices, and shops.

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