Domed Cities - For Earth?

Domed cities are a well-known sf staple. But do we need to start planning them for use on Earth, due to climate change? Supposed benefits, in addition to protection from drastic climate change, include reduction of costs for extreme weather and shifted costs for climate control of buildings.


(From Houston city dome proposed)

This picture is taken from a Discovery Channel program discussing the possibility of putting all of Houston, Texas under a protective dome.

In his 1905 story A Modern Utopia, H.G. Wells refers to the idea of covering at least parts of cities with sturdy glass domes:

One will come into this place as one comes into a noble mansion. They will have flung great arches and domes of glass above the wider spaces of the town, the slender beauty of the perfect metal-work far overhead will be softened to a fairy-like unsubstantiality by the mild London air.

Ordinarily, the idea of a domed city is usually applied to planets or moons with a really good reason for a dome - no air, for instance. As far as I know, the first person to suggest using a clear dome to cover an entire lunar city was Ray Cummings in his 1931 story Brigands of the Moon.

The Grantline camp stood midway up one of the inner cliff walls of the little crater. The broken, rock-strewn floor, two miles wide, lay five hundred feet below the camp. A broad level shelf hung midway up the cliff, and upon it Grantline had built his little group of glassite dome shelters…
(Read more about Cummings' glassite dome shelter)

Another early use for the idea of a kind of dome over an Earth city - like, for example, Scranton, NJ, was in James Blish's classic series Cities in Flight. A device called a "spindizzy" produced a force-field dome over earth cities (and also allowed them to defy gravity and take off into space!)


(Cities in FLight cover)

Read more about similar projects in a very nicely done article on Next Big Future.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/29/2009)

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