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Republic City is home to a variety of iconic landmarks. These include an island with a massive statue of Avatar Aang looking out over the bay, a downtown station, a large and popular city park, many suspension bridges, and skyscrapers. The police force utilizes metalbending for civil law enforcement. The vast metropolis conducts pro-bending matches; the city's number one form of sporting activity.
In the aftermath of the Hundred Year War, Team Avatar, led by Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko, came to an agreement with Earth King Kuei on the establishment of the Harmony Restoration Movement, which would return the Fire Nation colonies to the jurisdiction of the Earth Kingdom. One of the consequences of this action was the relocation of Fire Nation citizens from the settlements they had created over the past century. This order of removal had considerable negative demographic consequences not considered by any of the parties to the agreement. A year into the operation of the movement, Zuko withdrew his support after being accused of being a traitor, precipitating a confrontation with his friend, the Avatar.
After a narrow avoidance of war, Aang and Zuko eventually resolved this impasse by not removing the Fire Nation colonies, but regulating the balance of power by creating a fifth nation separate from the original four. This new nation would be a society open to anyone from the four nations to reside in and be governed by a council with representatives from each of the four nations. They named this new nation the United Republic of Nations and established Republic City as its capital at a location in the northwestern Earth Kingdom.
With the resources of all four nations, Republic City rapidly developed into a metropolis over the next seventy years. Despite being a city directly established for political considerations rather than an evolution of an original settlement, its population and sophistication increased beyond reasonable expectation, causing the number of vagabonds around Republic City to grow.
However, the city has not been without internal strife. Forty-two years before Avatar Korra arrived, a crime boss by the name of Yakone used the outlawed ability of bloodbending to terrorize the city, but eventually he was tried by the Council and dealt with by Avatar Aang after his escape from City Hall.
As of 170 ASC, Republic City began to experience demographic and political problems as a direct consequence of its nature as a large city. Organized crime became rampant and an Anti-bending Revolution arose. The city also began facing issues with wealth inequality among the citizens. During their revolution, Amon and the Equalists threatened the city and its benders, eventually using a fleet of airships to bomb the city in an attempt to gain control. After the destruction of the first division of the United Forces and the capture of the whole United Republic Council during the resulting Battle for Republic City, the Equalist forces controlled almost the whole city. However, due to Team Avatar's involvement, the Equalist forces were soon crushed and Amon's secret revealed. These events ended the revolution and Republic City was put back under government control.
In contrast to the other major cities of the world, Republic City is a true modern urban center. The city has developed the architectural sophistication to construct taller buildings, resulting in significant high-rise development. Stylistically, the city generally incorporates traditional ornamentation with far more advanced structural techniques, but there are some departures from what is considered traditional, such as City Hall and the Pro-bending Arena. Despite this, there are still landmarks built in the traditional style, such as Air Temple Island. Beneath the city there is an extensive tunnel network. The metropolitan area is divided into many boroughs.
The bustling center of the city, downtown, is reminiscent of all the different elemental bending traditions in both its architecture and its population. In downtown Republic City, tall, well-crafted buildings line the cobblestoned streets, and a railroad track sits above the general populace, offering transportation to those wishing to explore the city in its entirety. This sector is representative of a cultural melting pot of shops and stands featuring goods from all three nations. It is the political, economic, and cultural center of Republic City, protected by a massive police presence carried by their headquarters and airships. Despite this, downtown suffers from organized crime just as the rest of Republic City. The Triple Threat Triad, the largest bending triad of the whole city, claims the downtown area as their turf and runs protection rackets in this area.
- Main article: City Hall
City Hall is a center for governance in Republic City, and is also a venue for public press conferences and gatherings, with a large square before its front doors. It is here that the new Avatar, Korra, made her official appearance. While the public building has an entrance typical of traditional architecture from the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation, its distinctive features, a large dome and four corner towers, is certainly a new style developed after the Hundred Year War.
Central City Station
- Main article: Central City Station
Central City Station is the city's main hub of transportation, though in recent years, it has been less utilized due to the advent of the Satomobile. However, it remains a busy commercial area, and at the entrance to Central City Station is a statue built in the honor of Fire Lord Zuko.
- Main article: Kuang's Cuisine
- Main article: Police headquarters
The police headquarters, often referred to simply as "Headquarters", is the base of operations for the metalbending police, and is where criminals that were apprehended by the police are booked and jailed. The architecture of the police headquarters is comparable to that of standard Earth Kingdom buildings, with both the exterior and the interior being largely geometrical in design. Headquarters is overseen by Chief Saikhan. In front of the headquarters stands a statue of Toph Beifong.
Republic City Park
- Main article: Republic City Park
Typical of other public construction achievements in Republic City, the city park is also on a large scale. Located in the city's central peninsula, the city park is landscaped with small hills, deciduous trees shading impeccably kept grass, and fine stone arch bridges. Due to the poverty of a large number of Republic City citizens, the city park has also become a place popular with vagabonds such as Gommu, whom Korra met soon after her initial arrival in the city. It is known that fishing in the park is prohibited.
Triple Threat Triad headquarters
- Main article: Triple Threat Triad headquarters
The Triple Threat Triad headquarters is the base of operations for the Triple Threat Triad, Republic City's most notorious organized crime faction. It is disguised as a restaurant and is located on a minor roadway in downtown Republic City, near Central City Station.
Aang Memorial Island
- Main article: Aang Memorial Island
Aang Memorial Island is a small island off the coast of Yue Bay, located near Air Temple Island. It features a massive statue of Avatar Aang created by the Fire Nation some years after the end of the Hundred Year War for display in the bay of Republic City, where it would stand as a symbol of peace and goodwill. It depicts an older Aang clad in traditional Air Nomad attire, with the accompanying necklace he wore when Fire Lord Zuko announced the war's end at his coronation.
Air Temple Island
- Main article: Air Temple Island
Located in Yue Bay, Air Temple Island is the home of Tenzin and his family, and is therefore a residence to one of the most powerful governing figures of Republic City. The temple was originally built by Avatar Aang himself. Comprised of several structures, including a large tower, several smaller buildings with blue roofs, and an open practice area, Air Temple Island is home to the Air Acolytes, Tenzin, his wife Pema, and their four children Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, and Rohan.
- Main article: Pro-bending Arena
Pro-bending is the most popular sport in Republic City, and official pro-bending matches are held in the city's Pro-bending Arena. As a testament to the sport's popularity, this building has a golden appearance and is lit at night, making it a prominent city landmark. The arena is spacious enough to hold the pro-bending ring on which the contestants compete, a large pool of water far below the ring, and great numbers of spectators. The arena is one of the jewels in Republic City, and people from all over the world come to visit and watch the world's greatest benders compete.
After the attack, in which the championship team was stripped of their bending by Amon, the arena was closed indefinitely. However, six months later, pro-bending matches had resumed.
Dragon Flats borough
- Main article: Dragon Flats borough
The Dragon Flats borough is one of Republic City's sectors. It is known for being Hiroshi Sato's birthplace and active triad territory. Before a successful raid by Councilman Tarrlok's task force, it hosted an underground training facility for Equalist chi blockers.
It was also the first place where the new law that restricted non-benders to a curfew was enforced by the Republic City Police with violence, followed by mass arrests.
Republic City underground
Republic City tunnel network
- Main article: Republic City tunnel network
The Republic City tunnel network is a system of subterranean passages located underneath Republic City. It is a heavily complex network of tunnels, but upon first glance, the system seems to be largely unused. However, due to growing unrest among the citizens of Republic City, it has become the primary site of operations for Equalist activity. In fact, the tunnel network hosted Equalist prisons, training camps, and garages.
- Main article: Harmony Tower
Harmony Tower is a large tower located in the downtown area that allows citizens to get a clear view of a large portion of the city.
Narook's Seaweed Noodlery
- Main article: Narook's Seaweed Noodlery
Narook's Seaweed Noodlery is a restaurant in the city that serves traditional Southern Water Tribe cuisine. Its noodles are advertised as the best in the United Republic.
Republic City power plant
- Main article: Republic City power plant
Silk Road Bridge
- Main article: Silk Road Bridge
- Main article: Cabbage Corp
Cabbage Corp is a company that produces automobiles. Its only known model is the Cabbage Car, a cheaper, more compact alternative to those produced by Hiroshi Sato's Future Industries. Cabbage Corp's current owner is Lau Gan-Lan.
- Main article: Future Industries
Future Industries is the name of the company founded and formerly led by Hiroshi Sato. Using state-of-the-art technology and the assembly line, the factory produces over a hundred luxury Satomobiles on a daily basis. Despite high demand, Future Industries' only known competitor is Cabbage Corp, which produces the cheaper, compact Cabbage Car.
The population of Republic City is large by world standards, and the mass influx of immigrants from the four nations has caused considerable demographic challenges. The foremost of these challenges is inequality: the gap in wealth is considerable. Newcomers to the city appear unaware of these phenomena until their arrival, when they are presented with a considerable surprise. The Avatar herself believed its citizens to all be "living it up" and was shocked to discover vagabonds in the city park. With these difficult conditions, the populace seems ready to be stirred into a revolt against the perceived bending elite. A protester expended relatively little effort in arousing anger in a crowd against an annoyed Korra.
As the center of commerce throughout the nations, organized crime appears to be very common in Republic City. Gangs such as the Triple Threat Triad lay claim to certain boroughs of the city, which they call "territories". In these areas, the control of triads appears to be considerable, with shopkeepers forced to pay them in order to secure their safety. This power over local business is significant considering the regular and frequent airship patrols by the city's police forces.
The use of modern transportation methods such as automobiles, motorcycles, and airships is widespread in Republic City. The city also has invested considerably in advanced transportation infrastructure, with feats of engineering such as an elevated mass transit system and several suspension bridges connecting the city center with its outlying borough.
- The concept of Republic City is inspired by several real world past and present locations from the late 1800s to the 1930s. This includes Shanghai circa 1920s, Hong Kong, and Western cities such as New York and Vancouver. In particular, the giant Aang statue, the huge park, and the bridge are inspired by the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge, respectively, in New York City.
- The rapid urbanization and technological advances of the World of Avatar mirrors that of the twentieth century in the real world, in which automobiles, towering buildings, trolleys, and other great engineering feats came to be.
- The park in Republic City also resembles the Hyde Park in London, with its "Speaker's Corner", where anyone can stand up and speak to the public. In Republic City Park, a man is speaking to the public with a megaphone about the Equalists' views against benders.
- The city is divided into boroughs. The only one known is the Dragon Flats borough, home of Hiroshi Sato's family.
- Republic City is located near Makapu Village and Taku.
- Republic City's Harmony Tower resembles the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
- The elevated railway transportation can be compared to the elevated railway system, or EL, built in Chicago during the early 1900s, and the street trolley system can be compared to San Francisco's street trolleys also built during the early 1900s.
- Tarrlok's seizing of control of major law operations and using the police to oppress non-benders makes Republic City appear to operate like a police state.
- It appears that during the time of Yakone's trial, Republic City's citizens were still using animals for transportation, as evidenced by the lack of automobiles and Yakone utilizing an ostrich horse carriage as a method of escape.
- In "And the Winner Is...", a Cabbage Corp advertisement on the radio describes the company as "Republic City's trusted name in technology for over fifty years". This would mean that Republic City was, to some extent, up and running by 120 ASC, a mere twenty years after the end of the Hundred Year War.
- It is strange to note that the only noticeable celebrities in Republic City are Pro-bending athletes, even though during the 20s, actors and actresses were becoming more prevalent in the time period.
- In the German series of The Legend of Korra, Republic City is called "Republica".