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I’m currently working on a setting idea, and want to get some feedback on whether or not it is at all sound.

In brief, a corporation had been tasked by the government to establish and test potential habitats for space colonization efforts. This corporation developed a process whereby they would construct a series of domed structures made of biorock. These structures were each about the size of real world Narendra Modi Stadium, linked together by roads and/or underground tunnels. To keep these activities as private as possible, and for ease of biorock production, they set up their operation on a small island.

Unfortunately for the corporation, space exploration and therefore their project was largely abandoned after its onset. However, due to a combination of nuclear attacks, biological warfare and market instability, the corporation was able to pressure the island’s local government to build such habitats for their own use, primarily as a defence from contamination of their food supply and ever-increasing severe weather effects. Namely, hurricanes.

I understand, of course, the myriad of problems presented by domed structures as a city (proper air filtration, containing pollutants and impurities produced by the city, massive cost to construct/maintain). My question is whether or not this system would actually function as a defence against biological warfare and/or severe weather events?

I tried to keep my question as brief as possible while still providing enough information. Should you have any questions, please bring them forward and I’ll try to answer them.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Apr 13, 2022 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ When threat modeling it helps to know the specific threats you're concerned about. An ice storm or blizzard is a very different threat than a hurricane, or a flash flood. This question would probably be a better fit if you only asked about weather or biological attacks instead of both. You might want to describe the specific events you're concerned about. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Apr 13, 2022 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for that feedback. I’ve edited the question to specify hurricanes, due to their being an island territory. $\endgroup$
    – mreule
    Apr 13, 2022 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ I recommend clarifying what is 'biorock' (provide a link?), as many readers will not be familiar with it, and shouldn't have to independently research to understand the question. I also suggest similar clarification and/or link to explain "Narendra Modi Stadium". These details are key information for answerers to be able to accurately gauge "whether or not this system would actually function..." $\endgroup$
    – Harthag
    Apr 13, 2022 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for that feedback, I’ve since added some links (apologies in advance that one of them is to Wikipedia; I couldn’t find a reputable source that cited the information I wanted on the stadium). I had wanted to add links from the beginning, but had trouble figuring out how to do it from my phone. $\endgroup$
    – mreule
    Apr 14, 2022 at 12:51

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A dome the size of a stadium can certainly survive hurricanes. Constructed in 1975, the New Orleans Superdome has survived a number of direct hits from category 3 and 4 hurricanes including Elena, Andrew, Opal, Katrina, Rita, and Ida and never sustained more than cosmetic wind damage... and that is from a dome made with what is now 50 year old materials technology.

The worst damage came during Katrine, but it was mostly from flood water and mold due to the levee failure. The roof damage was mostly to the replaceable rubber outer layer of the roof and not the structural inner layers. Assuming your biorock is some sort of future tech, we can assume it could fair even better than the superdome, potentially surviving Cat-5 storm winds. Especially if you construct it above sea level where flood damage is not going to be nearly as big of an issue.

As for proper air filtration, it's not going to be as big of an issue as you think. The Superdome is designed to handle 1 screaming fan per 5.9 sqft. That is nearly 170 times the population density of New York City. The amount of CO2 and methane released by that many ppl in that small of a space is significant, but not too hard to overcome. The superdome has a massive HVAC system that is not only responsible for climate control, but also ventilation for those 75,000 breathing, farting, smoking (atleast they used to) fans. While it might not be cheap to keep the air clean and climate controlled, it is definitely doable.

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Your real limitation will food. Normally you need at least 5000 sqft of farmland to feed a person, and that is if you are using highly efficient hydroponic/aeroponic technologies. Going more dense means multi-story stacked farming using artificial light. Making a population reliant on stacked farming would increase the power consumption per capita of modern civilization 10 fold... this is a lot of power, but maybe doable if your setting has cheap fusion or something like that.

Other WB.SE questions have in the past narrowed down the needs of a population using stacked, artificially lit farming and minimally spacious apartments to a total need of about 36,000cuft/person. The superdome has a total volume of 125,000,000 cuft meaning you could pack about 3500 people into a place that big as long as you don't care too much about quality of life.

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