A domed city is a hypothetical structure that encloses a large urban area under a single roof. Domed cities were cities that were contained within a bio-dome. In most descriptions, the dome is airtight and pressurized, creating a habitat that can be controlled for air temperature, composition, and quality, typically due to an external atmosphere (or lack thereof) that is inimical to habitation for one or more reasons. Sundari, along with other Mandalorian cities, was a domed city. Many of Rodia’s cities were also domed.
Domes may not be a staple of this new era, but 20th-century inventors like Fuller and Spilhaus would have been happy to know that today’s designers are still working toward a sustainable vision of the future — even if it’s not exactly what they imagined. Domed cities have been a fixture of science fiction and futurology since the early 20th century and may be situated on Earth, a moon, or other planets. Today’s urban planners, meanwhile, are devising intelligent transportation systems by using sensor networks, digital information, and cognitive computing technologies.
It is not clear exactly when the concept of a domed city first appeared. The dome was not the research station itself, merely a shell to deflect wind and to retain some modest measure of heat. The actual living structures were inside, most of them insulated trailers. The phrase “domed city” had come into use by the 19th century in a different sense, meaning a skyline with dome-topped buildings.
It is still a source of disappointment to me that this future did not materialize, though the Chinese government is looking at domed parks to exclude the ever-worsening air pollution. One catalog of early science fiction mentions the 1881 fantasy Three Hundred Years Hence by British author William Delisle Hay (not to be confused with an earlier novel of the same title, by Mary Griffith). Hay’s book describes a future civilization where most of humanity lives in glass-domed cities beneath the sea, allowing the surface of the earth to be used primarily for agriculture. Several examples from the early 20th century are also listed. Those wishing to enjoy nature without shredding their lungs would pay an entrance fee, then frolic for some number of hours in a lush natural paradise beneath an immense, airtight transparent canopy.