Babylon 5 is a space station in neutral space more or less central to all five of the different alliances, human or alien. To get to one or the other, you have to pass through this sector of space. Thus, Babylon 5 has been created as a sort of port-of-call for travellers, statesmen, emissaries, traders, refugees and other, less savoury characters.
Five miles long, Babylon 5 is divided into separate, discrete sections that rotate at differing speeds to provide different gravities to accommodate those who come to the station.
As for locations inside B-5...we've designed a number of very different looks and locations to give it a non-claustrophobic feel. By virtue of being patterned physically after the work of such scientists as Gerard K. O'Neill, the absolute centre of the elongated station (which revolves to provide gravity) is a sort of hollow-world look, with fields and hydroponic gardens along the 360-degree circular section (which is about a half-mile, or a mile across)...and as you get closer to the absolute centre, where a transport tube cuts from one end of the station to the other, naturally you get less and less gravity until you can literally hang suspended. This area is known as the Garden.
And there are living areas designed to accommodate different environments and atmospheres and conditions. The alien sectors are off-limits to humans without protection (breathing gear and other measures). Similarly, a heavy CO2 breather or methane breather would have to wear an encounter suit to travel among the humans on the station. In addition, the B-5 station is actually made up of several independent (though connected) sections, each revolving at a different speed in order to create alternative areas of gravity.
Some sections of the station, called the Downbelow, are inhabited by Babylon 5's equivalent of the homeless, called Lurkers. Most of them are people who came to the station looking for work; they didn't find any, and can't afford passage off station. No government is willing to pay to ship them home (and in some cases, they wouldn't even be allowed home) so they languish on the station. The Downbelow is a centre of criminal activity on B5, though by no means is crime confined to that area.
Finally, on sets and the "look" of the place...again, there will be a mix. Parts of the station are still under construction, and parts are finished. Some sections are in daylight, some in night, alternating by level and sector. On the very outer ring, the view ports are in panels ON THE FLOOR, so you're looking down and out into space, revolving beneath your feet. Some places will be beautifully finished and neat, and other areas will be very rough and in-the-works. (Remember, B5 only recently went operational, and thus there are still some parts being constructed.)
In talking with our production designer, John Iacovelli, the one term he kept using, over and over, was "travelogue." We should get a real sense in this show of a world turned inside out...with varying textures, lighting, angles, and a mix of looks. There will not be a homogeneous look to this place, if Iacovelli or I have anything to say about it. You can walk from the carefully and neatly appointed Council Chamber room, to the high- tech control room, to a section of the station under construction and exposing beams and wires, to the dark and noire-looking nightclub, to the Garden, to....
You get the idea.
The Babylon 5 station isn't just floating there. It's at the L-5 point in a binary star system between a moon and Epsilon 3, a barren, lifeless planet.
Well, a theoretically barren and lifeless planet, anyway....