Despite the wholesome potential GONZO dug up for this series, with character design contributions from Range Murata, and an interesting sci-fi premise pinched from a novel, they appear to have failed utterly in converting that potential into a watchable anime.
And that is because of:
Those who live in (alleged) squallor reside in a tiny, rainforest-bound village that is overshadowed by the looming monstrocity of the Atlas city. And of course, this who live in Atlas are cruel and nasty people who seem to prey upon the plight of the poor, be they 3rd-world countries or pestulent guerillas. The poor of Duomo are happy and free-spirited. 
If I wanted such trash, I'd watch some Spirit: Stallion of the West.
[O]bvious enough from miles away how absoloutely massive Atlas was and that they could accomodate Duoma IF THEY WANTED TO. And I don’t blame them for not wanting too, given that half of Duomo are annoying transvestites.
The animation is my other chief issue with this show, and GONZO’s recent money troubles isn’t really an excuse because they’ve screwed up like this before. Usually they have an exceptionally well-animated first episode and then the quality drops off from there, but not so with Shangri-La, which had a mediocre first episode and still managed to drop lower.
I bet many would say, "GONZO. Maybe they should just die already."
UPDATE: BigN says:
the claim that “poor of Duomo are happy and free-spirited”, is pretty clearly not true. They’re poor, they have poor medical care, they’re desperate, and, as is often the case, they are divided as to where their salvation lies — Metal Age, Atlas, or perhaps somewhere else? These are not the placid Earth-dwellers living in harmony and peace with Mother Nature, resisting the oppression of their despoiling, capitalist overlords.
See, that's like TJ said: viewers see what they expect to see.