I'm sorry to hear that my classmate did not enjoy China Mieville's works as much as I did. Unlike Mr. Thunder, I would very much like to experience New Crobuzon, if only for a short visit. Mieville himself admitted that there are nice parts of town, and a short stay there would be worthwhile if only so one could see and meet all of the fascinating beings with which the world is populated. Even my insect-phobic self would be fascinated to see the khepri women at work.
(I always assumed that the name New Crobuzon signified the age and corruption of the city - that perhaps an age ago the city of Crobuzon had been razed and a successor built on the midden pile of the old. But that's rank speculation, and the D&D explanation definitely matches the author's biography.)