Tampa is one of the last major cities in the southern continental United States to remain habitable. In the aftermath of the war, droves of refugees made their way to the city, seeking shelter, water and food. The military took control of the city fairly quickly but realised there was too much to police, so while initial martial law was in place to keep the peace, as the United Earth government emerged in the first 12 months, Tampa was divided into four districts. Local leaders took charge of each area and sat on the United Earth council to agree on laws to govern the distribution of supplies and each district's fundamental laws and constitutions.
A DMZ is typically a physical strip of land that separates hostile parties and is intended to be a neutral area where military activity is prohibited. The purpose of a physical DMZ is to create a buffer between the opposing sides, reducing the likelihood of violent confrontations and providing a space for negotiations and diplomacy. The DMZ between North and South Korea before the war was an excellent example of how this concept worked. The Korean DMZ ran along the border between North and South Korea, separating the two countries. It was established at the end of the Korean War in 1953 to create a buffer between the two sides and reduce the likelihood of further hostilities.In Tampa, the DMZ is the gateway to the districts but also serves as the military checkpoint protecting those in the district from the Ferals in No Man's Land.
A breach of the rules of the Tampa DMZ could happen in several ways. For example, it could involve the unauthorized entry of military personnel or civilians into the DMZ, unauthorized trading within the DMZ or the unauthorized use of weapons or other military equipment. Such breaches could potentially lead to escalations of tensions between districts or with the Ferals operating in No Man's Land. There is a tacit understanding that the Tampites and the Ferals don't directly attack each other, but Tampites travelling through No Man's Land are fair game. This position is tolerated, as most people don't enter No Man's Land, unless in a planned military escort.
Tampa is a major population centre and is the largest remaining city after the war. It has an incredibly high population density, with people crammed into blocks of apartments, tented areas and existing houses. Many of the old office buildings are repurposed to shelter citizens. Tampa has a thriving economy and a wide range of cultural and social amenities, governed locally by the leaders of each district, but also with supplies sent from United Earth. Tampa is the cultural, economic, and political centre of the continental United States and maintains the American way of life for all those who remain. Tampa is full of high-rise buildings, public transportation networks (trams, horse taxis, and a range of housing that people can pay for. Each district is dynamic and vibrant and offers different experiences and living conditions. People are assigned to a district when the arrive at the Tampa DMZ but can transfer for a cash payment when they have the funds to move, should they want to.