Look, we're idiots: None of us knows what, exactly, goes into city planning, but we assume it's probably a lot of distinguished gentlemen emailing each other about math, statistics and blueprints. But somewhere along the line, somebody accidentally CC'ed the insane asylum, and we wound up with the following civilizations that simply should not be:
Back in 1945, the USSR discovered oil just off the coast of Azerbaijan. The problem was that, at the time, no one had ever built an offshore oil rig before, so if they wanted to tap that ocean-bottom booty, they had to figure out how to do it from scratch. Not to be deterred by minor considerations such as reason, the USSR went ahead and built a massive multiplatform oil rig right out there in the middle of the ocean. When even more oil was discovered right next door, they didn't bother with a whole new platform; they just retired a boat, bolted it to the existing platform and started working on it. The Russians continued in this fashion until they wound up with Oily Rocks, a gargantuan city of oil workers, with over 120 miles worth of road built into the middle of the Caspian Sea.
"If you find yourself plummeting into the sea, you've gone too far."
Five thousand people live and work on Neft Dashlari, right there in the face of logic and Poseidon alike. But don't go thinking it's all bleak and inhospitable: Neft Dashlari is most of the way to a real city. Its features include electric power stations, a library, apartment buildings up to nine stories high, hostels for visitors/guests, hospitals, Palaces of Culture, bakeries and even lemonade workshops (leave it to the Soviets to append "workshop" to something as innocuous as "lemonade.")
They went a little crazy on the swimming pool, though.
But if there's one thing the Soviets weren't exactly known for, it was the reliability of their engineering; they always did prefer to glue things together with a combination of balls and aggressive optimism. As such, Neft Dashlari is now falling apart. Roughly 75 percent of it has rusted away, but the local citizens aren't leaving, because there's still enough oil to keep that bad boy running for another 30 years, or until the Splicers revolt. Whichever comes first.
Manshiyat Naser is a city with zero unemployment, extremely cheap housing and a populace that mostly describe themselves as "happy." Here's a picture of our idyllic little hamlet:
We're waiting for the '80s sitcom style "Our parents will be home in 10 minutes" cleaning montage.
No, that's not an "after" shot in an apocalyptic montage: That's how the city always looks. Because it's an entire society based solely around trash. Manshiyat Naser is located right next to Cairo, one of the largest cities on the continent, and Manshiyat Naser is where Cairo dumps all of its garbage.
Via Ilya Stepanov/Caters
"Literal mountains of filth? You shouldn't have!"
The citizens of Manshiyat Naser aren't just incredibly forgiving neighbors: They make their living off of the refuse. They collect it from Cairo, sort it and recover all the valuables for themselves -- from scrap metal to spare electronics. Though the city isn't exactly a utopia (it has no running water, inherent infrastructure or electricity), it's not just a bunch of hobos squatting, either: There are several permanent shops, streets and apartment buildings.
That's right: It's an entire society based on dumpster diving.
Via Ilya Stepanov/Caters
Great, now we have the Sanford and Son theme stuck in our heads.
Miyake-jima is a small island off the coast of Japan practically untouched by tourists, despite the fact that it's only a few miles away from one of the densest populations in the world.
But that's probably only because the whole thing is nature's chemical weapons factory. Psh, some tourists are just pussies.
Pink Floyd fans just got one massive, collective boner.
Miyake-jima is located at the base of an active volcano, but their chief concern isn't explosions, or lava, but the sulfuric gas that "frequently reaches lethal levels." And yes, people still live there full time, even during those times when you can't breathe the air. It's a requirement that all citizens carry a gas mask with them at all times, since at any time, sirens may set off all across the island indicating fatal gas concentrations.
"Do you take this man to brrmfm rrrfrrmmm-mm brrm?"
So why do people still live there?
Or, more accurately:
For money! That science pays to them!
The Japanese government gives each resident a yearly paycheck just for existing where they shouldn't exist, in order to test the effects of constant sulfuric gas exposure on a stable population. So hey, if you love money and Japan, but hate breathing, feel free to check out the study for yourself here.
"No, that's close enough. We'll take your word for it that there's a city in there."