Chicago, Illinois is the city where the story of the Divergent Trilogy takes place. The Chicago in Divergent is in the future, and is very dilapidated and worn out.
Correspondingly with the creation of a new seemingly utopian society, the city broke off ties from the outside and erected a fence around its borders, keeping in all the inhabitants, keeping the city away from those who could harm. However, the fence bordering Chicago was constructed by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare in order to keep the city from knowing the reasoning of Chicago's secrets.
Most of the city is now abandoned or in ruins. Navy Pier, for instance, is in decay with most of its attractions, such as the Ferris wheel, deemed unusable but still worn. What was once Millennium Park is now no more than a barren pile of grass and a large steel beam. Lake Michigan has dried up, becoming a marsh rather than a lake. It is said that north of the bridge, the buildings near the center of the city such as the previously called Willis Tower (also known as the Sears Tower to the older Chicagoans) are in good, habitable conditions, while those within the outskirts of tare in shambles.
Certain prominent contemporary Chicago landmarks are noted throughout the series but they have different or no associations for the characters. For example, portions of the important Chicago streets State Street, Michigan Avenue, and Lake Shore Drive remain, and those names remain in use. In Divergent, Tris interacts with a famous modern-day Chicago sculpture "Cloud Gate " (though currently commonly called "The Bean," given by its unusual shape), but she does not know its name or history. In Allegiant, Tris and Tobias had a date in Millenium Park at what was once known as the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, climbing on top of the famous metal pieces. There are also references to the famous Buckingham Fountain, though according to Tris the fountain has long been out of use.
Prominent buildings in contemporary Chicago serve as headquarters for different factions. For instance, Candor resides in what Tris and Tobias refer to as "the Merciless Mart"; in the past, this would have been the Merchandise Mart, a massive building that was once the largest building in the world.
The city is divided into sections that house each one of five factions; Erudite, Abnegation, Amity, Candor, and Dauntless. The factionless, on the other hand, are spread across abandoned parts of the city, living as nomads.
- The author of the book, Veronica Roth, grew up in a suburb of Chicago.