25
$\begingroup$

I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with Michio Kaku, but he's a renowned physicist who has often talked about humanity's role in the future. He mentions some valuable words about how we are still a Type-Zero civilization who has not even "conquered the Earth" - and still suffer great losses from natural "disasters" (as we call them), our transportation is often halted by weather (snow + tires, boats + waves etc.).

If we had sustainable domes, could we not control the infrastructure inside the dome? Cities like Boston / New York could greatly benefit from blocking out snow/rain etc.

What's stopping us from building a glass cage? Controlling the air quality. Wouldn't it also be great progress towards creating a modular environment to use on Mars or something?

PSA: I'm just a techie-leaning entrepreneur, and I'm curious what expert opinion is on this matter.

EDIT: I'm highly interested in discussing the benefits of a dome, and I welcome discussion regarding a future that might benefit from opening up this space.

EDIT #2: Since this question got quite popular; cost aside, a little (or large) follow up question: would investing in this type of technology be beneficial in the coming decades when we do inevitably begin to explore other planets, as Elon Musk and many others are beginning to dedicate their careers / lives towards. Establishing a self-sufficient, modular environment could surely be of great benefit for exploration sake, could it not? What are the alternatives?

$\endgroup$
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ An alternative approach worth considering as an entrepreneur is the ability to flex with the climate, rather than dominating it. It's often far cheaper to work with forces of nature than against them! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Sep 23 '15 at 19:25
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ When I was first old enough to start driving I always wondered why we couldn't build transparent enclosures around all roads, as it would eliminate all accidents caused by inclement weather (rain/icy making the road slippery or reducing visibility). This would be much more cost effective and practical than building a huge dome over a whole city! $\endgroup$ – Michael Sep 23 '15 at 23:51
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Who's going to get the job of shoveling snow off the roof? How will it be made strong enough to get snowed on without collapsing? What will be done to protect structures just outside the dome, when literal avalanches of snow fall on them from off the dome? (Getting to work in a blizzard or icestorm isn't hard. Dealing with the snow pileup on top of, or around the edges of, this dome, on the other hand, would be massively difficult.) $\endgroup$ – LindaJeanne Sep 24 '15 at 2:45
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ If the dome is large enough, it will have its own weather system inside it. NASA already have this problem with their Vertical Assembly Building. $\endgroup$ – pjc50 Sep 24 '15 at 16:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Most city governments can barely maintain the infrastructure under our feet, and you want them to maintain one over our heads? I'd say over my dead body, but it'd be too accurate! $\endgroup$ – corsiKa Sep 24 '15 at 19:50

12 Answers 12

45
$\begingroup$

Just some initial thoughts:

  1. Creating a city-sized dome is going to be very difficult. It'll have to be taller than the tallest skyscraper, and be mainly comprised of open air. Where would you put the supports? And if the whole thing is just supported by its dome shape, what kinds of materials would you use to keep it up? Due to the size of the structure, the square-cube law states that it's going to be exponentially more difficult to sustain a city-sized dome than a similar smaller structure.

  2. It won't look pretty. People pay a lot of money for a great view. If you're blocking that with girders, people aren't going to be happy about it. Plus, due to #1 there probably won't be many windows, so a lot of people aren't going to be able to see any sky, which isn't good for mental health. Maybe you could put screens on the inside, but that's just more cost for building and maintenance (see #4).

  3. If it breaks, you're responsible for thousands of deaths. Not only is it difficult to build such a massive structure, but when something goes wrong (and something will go wrong), you've now got random debris falling onto your city. If the whole thing comes down (think World Trade Center 9/11), you could be looking at the complete destruction of your entire city. Sports stadiums already have a problem with their domes coming down in the event of bad weather; now take that problem and multiply it by a thousand, and put a bunch of children underneath it.

  4. Who's going to pay for it? This is the absolute largest building project in human history, and no one's going to be able to live/work in it. The city itself could pay for the construction, like they do for roads and such, but no one's going to agree to the massive increase in taxes, especially since it'll probably take decades to build.

  5. It doesn't really help. I bet after a few years/months/weeks, there will be leaks, and it'll probably cost a fortune to send a crew up there to fix it. Due to travel to/from the city, you're also going to need to make some entry/exit points, which will let water in in the event of a flood. As for temperature control, I don't want to pay money to keep the sky above my head cold in the summer and warm in the winter. I'll just pay for my apartment to stay at a good temperature, and everyone else will probably do the same.

  6. Construction will be a nightmare. I can't even begin to think of how this would actually come together, but I imagine it would involve a lot of road closings, scaffolding on the sidewalks, and hard-hat areas. It would be a massive pain for the city's inhabitants (the people who are already paying for something they'll probably never see completed in their lifetime).

  7. Think of the future. In a few years/decades, our cities may look vastly different than they do now. Robots and Internet may mean that people no longer have to leave their homes, or at least can afford to work from home on snowy days. There are many proposed uses for flying drones, from surveillance to shipping; whatever their use, there may be a lot of drones in the sky in a few years, and it's not going to help if there's a giant dome in their way. There are many other technologies that will continue to advance, and many of them will make a city-covering dome less useful than it may be currently. Some of these technologies may even make it cheaper, safer, and easier to build a dome, making the people who jumped the gun seem quite silly.

  8. Think of the alternatives. You could just cover all the roads. Build the roofs into existing buildings. The smaller size means less materials and less stress on those materials, which means less cost. Plus, there's less open, unused air in the system, and thus less air to ventilate/regulate. People can't fly, so focus on covering everything close to the ground, and you may be on to something.

$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ You might add a 7th liability - idiots in airplanes. Especially at night, avoiding the dome would be very difficult for some people. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Sep 23 '15 at 19:21
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ It presents an ungodly ventilation problem also. Pollution and CO2 rich and O2 poor air have to get out, and O2 rich air has to get in. Either that or you have to have the right ratio of plants to animals and everything under the dome has to be zero emissions. Seems like it would cause more problems than it would solve. $\endgroup$ – Todd Wilcox Sep 23 '15 at 19:35
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @jdero: If you can invent a solar panel that's smart and transparent, that would be a game-changer, even without a dome. I don't understand the "businesses inside the dome have much to gain". What sort of ecological or health benefits would the dome provide? $\endgroup$ – LindaJeanne Sep 23 '15 at 19:36
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @LindaJeanne That is an impossibility. You can't let light through and at the same time convert light into electricity. $\endgroup$ – Aron Sep 24 '15 at 3:33
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Aron There is nothing impossible about a transparent solar panel which both allows visible light through and captures higher wavelengths for power (which also reduces any health effects of being out in the sun too long) $\endgroup$ – pluckedkiwi Sep 24 '15 at 17:14
10
$\begingroup$

Engineering

I suspect there would be extreme engineering challenges in building a mega-structure like this. It needs to hold up, be extremely reliable, and resist inclement weather. Up to and including major hurricanes, tornadoes, or ice storms.

And imagine building one in earthquake country...

Money

High initial cost, high maintenance cost, liability insurance if part of the dome fails.

You would also face pressure from existing industries (snow handling, roofing, etc) that would lose business from the change.

Insufficient Benefit

Large parts of your cities are already enclosed. We call these "buildings". The dome only provides a benefit to outdoor areas and outdoor transportation, and only when weather is causing problems. So the majority of the time it doesn't really do anything.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ The main benefit would be to heat up an isolated workspace so business could run unaffected by natural weather etc. A lot of people like working in California because they never have to drive in the snow. Work never gets cancelled. Productivity is never lost. Part of me thinks businesses would be willing to pay for it. $\endgroup$ – jdero Sep 23 '15 at 19:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you can spend 50 trillion dollars to improve your GDP by 100 billion/year, it takes 500 years to recoup your investment. And that's ignoring maintenance costs entirely, which could easily swamp the benefits. Now, if there was "nowhere else in the globe to work," I could see those domes earning their keep. Right now, a company just moves to the midwest if it needs benign weather. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Sep 23 '15 at 19:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @jdero: warming an entire dome will be MUCH more expensive than just warming the insides of buildings; still not seeing the benefit. (also, if a dome stops the rain, then you just need to spend even more money irrigating all the parks.) $\endgroup$ – LindaJeanne Sep 23 '15 at 19:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ We have stupid amounts of cold and snow here and work never gets cancelled because of the weather.... You'll have people using their 'sick' days because they don't want to drive 50km in a snowstorm, but 1st these people wouldn't be living in the dome anyway, and 2nd 'sick' days will get used up anyway (hangovers , actually being sick, etc...) $\endgroup$ – Spacemonkey Sep 23 '15 at 20:26
8
$\begingroup$

Cost is the short answer. Building a single transparent dome over Boston would cost more than the Big Dig many times over and what does that achieve?

Ecological Complexity

Where Ma Nature used to take care of eliminating pollutants, we have to do that now. Plants and animals that stay or are trapped in the dome, now have different competition pressures with unknown consequences which we have to fix, manage, mitigate or eliminate. Most solutions to ecological problems aren't cheap. Now, with a contained atmosphere, we have to manage it ourselves. If grime builds up on the dome, and it will, we have to have a way to clean it. Again, that's more maintenence costs.

Too Big to Build

I don't know if humans have the engineering ability to build city sized domes yet out of glass or plastic. You would want to build smaller domes first and there's not any economic reason to build smaller domes yet. In other words, there's no problem that a dome can solve that can't be solved more cheaply using a different technique.

Building a structure tall enough to cover the Prudential and Hancock buildings is very difficult.

Convenience not worth the cost

Give the T's abysmal performance last year and all the money spent on fixes, a dome costs more initially and much higher operating costs than fixing the T.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 for mentioning ecological complexity. I thought a lot about humans, but in my mind these domes would be no place for animals. $\endgroup$ – jdero Sep 23 '15 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @jdero: so, how do you propose getting all the animals out of the city before putting up the dome? Have fun herding pigeons and stray cats, and flocks of non-migrating geese. Plus wildlife that lives in the parks. $\endgroup$ – LindaJeanne Sep 23 '15 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, animals in parks don't go well with this plan. Neither do pets, really. $\endgroup$ – jdero Sep 23 '15 at 19:43
5
$\begingroup$

It's unlikely to be a mega-structure, more likely to be a large balloon or polytunnel or even a bouncy castle, maintained by marginally higher (and controllable) internal air pressure - a fraction of 1psi, and possibly within the normal range of atmospheric pressure variations. And no girders to block the view.

1 litre of some polyolefin (about 1 kg) would cover 1 m^2 with a 1mm thick layer : use a double layer for redundancy. Weight is about 19.6N for 1 m^2, or only about 20Pa (0.2 millibars) increase in air pressure will support the weight.

More than one form of redundancy, with structural "sausages" in a geodetic layout, providing support in case there is a local failure of the main membrane. Such local failure would have to include potential aircraft strikes.

If we concurrently transition to the hydrogen economy, we will need large reservoirs above our living space to contain hydrogen (generated by electrolysis of rainfall using semi-transparent solar cells) in which case we may not need to be concerned about the weight of this structure; it can be largely self-supporting (in addition to support from the higher internal air pressure).

During sunlit hours, the hydrogen structures inflate and increase buoyancy as we generate hydrogen; at night, they deflate so we may need to increase air pressure (or pump up the sausages) as we consume it, to maintain structural integrity.

Cost may be dominated by materials? So Boston (about 250sq. km or 250 million sq.m) would require in the region of 0.5 million tons of structure., made from a couple of large tankers of oil. So the dome itself is surprisingly affordable in raw commodity terms, even if you need to replace the outer skin every couple of years until UV protection improves (or the solar cells absorb that).

It's more likely that pumping air to maintain pressure balance will be the important factor in the cost.

Supporting and draining rainfall and worse, snow, is likely to be just one of the more interesting exercises. As is maintaining the internal environmental conditions, but other answers have covered that : I think at least we can establish the feasibility of the basic structure.

It may well be adopted first in marginal farming areas to extend the practical growing season by conserving solar heat, and by controlling rainfall and excluding pests, on a field or square mile basis, rather than initially in a large city...

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Good answer - I was thinking about a bubble as well. I think the structure can be done but I have my doubts that our understanding of how to control the interior climate and waste disposal is up to it. $\endgroup$ – rumguff Sep 23 '15 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer. The materias that form and uphold the barrier (I think that's a neutral enough word) are the main points of cost. One thing to point out, also, is that if we were to create a dome-shape around the city, we would be working with more than 250sq. km of area since there's likely to be some spherical curvature to deal with (Pretty sure making it flat would not suffice). Another immediate issue I see with most types of structures is airfare, although I suppose it wouldn't be much different than creating entry points for street traffic, just larger. $\endgroup$ – jdero Sep 23 '15 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ It could be fairly close to flat, maybe a few hundred to a thousand metres high, certainly much flatter than hemispherical. That may require some internal structure (more sausages as pillars?) every km or two to keep the overall shape under control. @rumguff : I agree the climate could be a problem. Haven't looked at power requirements to pump and change air, though it's likely that natural daily heating and cooling cycles can provide some of the pumping. $\endgroup$ – Brian Drummond Sep 23 '15 at 23:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You want to store how many Hindeburgs of hydrogen right above the city? $\endgroup$ – Stig Hemmer Sep 24 '15 at 9:43
5
$\begingroup$

lots of good answers already, but there's one no one seems to have mentioned which, coming from the UK, was the first one I thought of.

Say you overcome all the problems everyone has mentioned and build your mega-dome surrounding your city. It's great, your city is now completely immune to all natural disasters and adverse weather from a light dusting of snow to a mega-tsunami.

As a result, everyone wants to live in your city. Your population increases, you look to build more houses, flats, etc and......oh. Your dome is full, your city can't expand without doing the whole mega-project over again.

For examples of something like this which has happened, look at every European city dating back to medieval times. They all had walls once, to defend against barbarian hoards. Look where the walls are now, they certainly aren't outside the city anymore.

Come to think of it, since this is WB, that might make a good basis for a story in your world. What happens when the city expands/wants to expand too far?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

A very nice realisation of efficient "weather insulation", is the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre, in Astana, Kazakhstan.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Off course it is not city sized, but building sized and it is not a dome, but a tent! The temperature stabilisation is achieved both in the super hot summers, with air circulation (profiting from chimney effect and venturi effect with the winds at the top), and in the harsh winters, as the top can let sunlight in to take advantage from greenhouse effect. The tent structure resists very well both to wind and snow. It is also relatively easy to build, as you can just start with the central pillar, pull the outer cables and finally complete the covering. Note that this works very well also with irregular shapes of the base.

It will not be super-hard to adapt the concept and cover small villages/towns, and maybe even obtain a metropolis connecting many of these together. Looking at the drawings above we may expect to have an optimised base diameter reaching about three times the pillar height (in a dome you only get two). The width of Manhattan is approximately 3 km, which means that you can cover the bottom part of it with a central pillar about 1 km tall, taking care of moving the annoyingly tall building of the WTC close to the pillar. This looks super challenging, but not crazy (except moving the WTC, that is crazy).

Still all the objections raised in the other answers are relevant: how much will it actually cost, is there really a need for it, will it look nice?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

I can think of several reasons off the top of my head that our current civilization has not done such a thing, and probably won't without other technological advancements:

  • In the 90th or better percentile of situations, the natural movement of air across the earth's surface, coupled with the changes in temperature, atmospheric moisture etc that it brings, is a very good thing. Rain is free irrigation, and absolutely essential to replenish water reservoirs that humans build to sustain the large population centers we're now going to enclose. When winds and rain reach extremes, that's when things get interesting, but these developments are regional, seasonal and short-lived. Building a traditional glass dome to hurricane strengths would only help cities impacted by hurricanes, and there are very few structures we can build above ground larger than a single small room of a house that can withstand a tornado.

  • The dome couldn't be purely transparent across the entire surface. Anyone who thinks differently is dramatically overestimating the strength of any such transparent material or our ability to make something that large in one piece. That means the dome will need opaque structural members, which will cast shadows and reflect light (depending on the material used) on places under the dome at various times of day. In the DFW metro, there's a section of the Dallas Museum of Art called the Nasher Sculpture Center. Nearby, Museum Tower, an upscale condominium complex with a glass exterior surface, was completed in 2013, with devastating effects for the Nasher Center's outdoor sculpture garden. Museum Tower's glass exterior reflects additional light onto the Sculpture Garden, raising its temperature and frying the plants. The reflected light and the structure of the tower has also "effectively destroyed" a piece of art built into the Nasher Center, "Tending (Blue)", which was designed to be a window showing only the sky itself with no effects of human development or ground features in view no matter where you stand to look at it. The Tower's top stories are now visible in that window, and the reflected light is visible in the surrounding "frame" of the work.

    A dome's supports, hundreds of feet thick and extending thousands of feet into the sky, are sure to cause other disturbances along these lines, only magnified that much more by the project's scale. What if it turns out that a seam between two of the dome's panels acts as a magnifying glass, shooting a searing ray of light and heat across a narrow swath of the land under it every day? How many would be blinded? How many homes would be destroyed? We likely wouldn't know until we'd built the thing, and then it's too late to stop the damage.

  • Human development, while often radial, is not circular; the Earth's surface is too uneven, and the things that make locations on the Earth's land surface desirable for human habitation are too irregular. If you try to draw a circle around any portion of the Eastern Seaboard over which to put a dome, you'll see the issues involved; at some point the dome will cut right through an outlying but well-developed town. You could have domes with "warts", basically looking like a clump of bubbles specifically tailored around existing development, but this increases structural weak points as well as the number of opaque structural members supporting the transparent panels which would affect sunlight.

  • The tallest developed point in New York City is 1776 feet above ground level (Freedom Tower, currently under construction on the site of the former WTC). That tower, like the WTC towers before it, is an economic and architectural feat. To build a spherical-section dome over the city of New York tall enough to encompass that tower and sturdy enough not to collapse under its own weight would be a megaproject dwarfing the cost and scale of any the world has undertaken.

  • Many, most even, of the world's major cities are coastal (even if they didn't start that way, they were established only a few miles upriver beyond the brackish estuary, then grew back toward the shore). The primary exceptions still have access to major rivers, because humans need water. Building a dome that could seal the city away from the effects of weather would require anchor points far out beyond the shore, and for some points, even beyond the continental shelf. That's especially true of a city like New York, whose tallest points are in downtown Manhattan, closer to the water than they are tall. Even doming a landlocked major metro like Dallas would require letting the Trinity River run through the dome.

  • Most such proposals for a dome world assume air and sea travel has become a thing of the past. It hasn't, yet, and in fact these modes of transportation are only becoming more important in the interconnected global economy. Further complicating matters is that most major cities have major airports in the center of those cities which would require the dome to have fairly large openings that really could never be closed (a plane takes off or lands at Chicago O'Hare every 75 seconds). Similarly, the dome would have to e able to be opened Until a world ground transport network is built that makes ships and planes obsolete through some combination of cost, speed and capacity, domes will be useless at their purpose of controlling the climate inside them, because they'll have to let outside air in most of the time.

  • Weather's power is truly awesome. Especially when we don't respect it. Citigroup Center (601 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, NY) is often called "New York's greatest disaster that never happened". The building is raised on massive "stilts" to preserve an historic church on the site (which has since moved). For architectural novelty and to keep the location of the church in the same place at the northwest corner of the building's footprint, the stilts were placed in the center of each face of the building instead of the corners. However, a miscalculation of the load on the building's structure in certain wind conditions led to the building as originally built being structurally unsound in high quartering winds (hitting a corner of the building instead of a face), which led to a secret scramble to reinforce the main column supports. Halfway through the reinforcement job, Hurricane Ella developed in the Atlantic and looked like it would head right for Manhattan, which would have been an unqualified disaster for the building and midtown Manhattan. As it was, Ella swung away from New York and the reinforcements were completed.

    Should we build a dome over New York City, or any part of it, that turns out to have a similar engineering flaw, the result would be the collapse of the dome over one of the most populous cities on the planet, with the loss of tens of millions of lives, which would very likely be a higher death toll than the weather event itself would have caused.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$
  • The volume of air inside such a dome is massive. Building the infrastructure to move and scrub the air would be a huge engineering project on its own. For environmental benefit, you could build the exact same air-movers and -scrubbers in the exact same city (without the dome) and get at least the same reduction in pollutants and increase in air quality. The lack of a dome would likely make their job even easier, since the natural winds and rain would do a tremendous amount of the air cleaning.
  • The lack of air quality in cities is primarily a result of the activities going on in the city. Putting up a dome does not block out these pollutants; it traps them inside.
  • Yes the occasional heavy snow can shut down a city for a few days (and longer, rarely). The amount of money lost to businesses during this time is completely insignificant compared to what it would cost to build and maintain a dome.
  • If you did manage to build the optimal transparent dome, you would then have to deal with a tremendous heating problem. Such a large "greenhouse" would trap an enormous amount of heat.
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Just wanted to give some pointers to a very well debated question:

1) Although it does seem be economically unfeasible to build domed cities on Earth, on other atmospheres such as the Moon or Mars, that would be a requirement; [unless some sort of terraforming is done first]

2) Probably, it would be better to build a structure in the wind fronts to deter hurricanes, for example, since they follow a somewhat regular pattern. No need to mention that it could be disastrous if not done properly (example: change weather undesirably on other locations)

3) If we had some sort of 'shield' tecnology (star trek like), it could be turned on only in the events of a storm or blizzard. That would be ideal, since it would save energy.

4) Let's not forget about what I call the 'Dubai Effect'. Pretty much anything you can imagine can be build, if you have that spare money.

Oh, and by the way, I guess that says that I'm a trekkie.

Best Regards, D.Alves

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site. You don't really give an answer on "what's stopping us from building domes", could you develop your ideas about the economic cost, and the wind deter ? $\endgroup$ – Tyrabel Sep 24 '15 at 13:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the welcome. Indeed, I did not answer the question, but complemented the answer of others. That was because the economical and tecnological aspects have been well covered by @DaaaahWoosh and others. $\endgroup$ – D. Alves Sep 24 '15 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ It is my opinion that the efford to build such a city would be better focused on developing a shield like tecnology, than using the current materias we have avaiable. $\endgroup$ – D. Alves Sep 24 '15 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ I mentioned the storms because, instead of buiding a dome on every major city, its more reasonable to build only structure in the wind fronts. $\endgroup$ – D. Alves Sep 24 '15 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ But I'm not a material scientist I'm afraid; Any attempt I'd go to select a most suitable material (either glass, polymer, ..) would be out of my league. $\endgroup$ – D. Alves Sep 24 '15 at 13:44
0
$\begingroup$

Current plans (unless I am outdated) for the NorthBay Google headquarters include plans for a dome by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick. google dome article It is rather close to a bird sanctuary, which I would see as a big problem.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$
  1. It's going cost a bunch, and you (yes you!) will pay for it with your tax money!
  2. It's going to look really ugly.
  3. How is any precipitation going to make it in? We need it, and honestly it doesn't cause too much trouble. It's more trouble to get rid of it.
  4. Extremely dangerous to build, and extremely dangerous to have up.
  5. This would be the hardest thing to build ever, and I don't think humans are capable of doing this just yet.
  6. There isn't really much need for it. In the future, if the weather (rain, snow, etc.) becomes deadly, then it might become something to think about.
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

It's actually technically feasible. Shadows would not be a problem.

Brian Drummond came close but missed the target--you neither need nor want an inflation system. Build your dome of light, clear material with cables to provide strength, leave openings where roads come through (and if you built it right cutting new ones will not be an issue), provide controllable vents up the surface at many locations.

Note that cities produce a lot of heat. When they're built on a smaller scale what do we call a bag over a heat source? A hot air balloon. You have built a tethered balloon that supports nothing but itself.

Now for the disadvantages:

You just created a giant pollution trap. You had better not put a dome like this over any city that uses fire.

I don't see the rain being a big issue--yes, it won't rain on the city but the rain that would have fallen on it (and likely a lot more) will fall onto the dome and thus go down to it's edges. So long as the volume of water doesn't damage the dome it's no harm done.

Consider what else we call a big transparent container? A greenhouse. The city underneath is going to be considerably warmer than it would otherwise be. That might be a good thing in a cold climate, a very bad thing in a hot one.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.