For decades, sci-fi writers have painted a picture of utopia as a
crystal-domed city appointed with shiny-steel accents, ultra-modern
furniture and gadgets ranging from food replicators to floor-hugging
maintenance drones. Tranquility and efficiency extend from work to sex,
and the human aging process is "curable," as is every other form of disease.

Since the first word of predictive text hit the first page on a
printer's press, architects and city planners have tried to paste the
dream onto the 3-D parchment of reality.

The results to date have been pitted and pitched by the decidedly
inefficient and totally anti-tranquil aspects of the messy side of human
existence. Still, gallant efforts persist, and with the skyrocketing
costs of gas and oil, the blinding increase of ecological disasters, and
a future that looks downright threatening to man's very existence, many
are once again heralding the idea.

Building huge cities and hyperstructures that can house hundreds of
thousands of people is once again seen as a good shot -- perhaps our
best shot -- at preventing or overcoming ecological disasters of our own