By Benjamin Maxwell on location

DUBAI, UAE – June 2, 2128: Coming just three months after the United States Congress passed the bill mandating construction of domes over twenty-five cities, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has completed a massive dome covering nearly a third of the city.

Nearly thirty thousand workers on the Almasi Capitol Dome Project gathered in the streets of Dubai’s Al Quoz Cultural District to witness the last section of the acrylic dome being formed in place nearly eight hundred feet above. The Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea have continued to rise, and many of the lower lying cities along the Arabian Peninsula have already been lost. Meanwhile, sea water has just crested the mammoth concrete base that rings Dubai.

“I have every confidence in the Almasi project,” said Jamila Sarraf, a mother witnessing the celebration with her five-year-old daughter. “The dome has kept the city safe so far,” she said as she points to the water that now laps at the acrylic dome. “The water makes me nervous, but everything seems to be fine.”

The Al Quoz Main Dome is the first of a series of domes, according to Osman Haddad, one of the many construction engineers on the Almasi project. “This is the main dome, the largest, at nearly three miles in diameter. These six other, smaller domes will house some of the support services to provide fresh water, air, electricity.”

He gestures to the six partial domes visible in the distance. “Those should be finished within the next eighteen months, ahead of schedule. Then full work will continue on the Sharjah project. The sea won’t let that deadline slip any longer than 2131, I’m afraid.”

But not everyone is celebrating. Critics believe the span of the dome is too wide, and that the arc of the dome is too shallow and can’t support the weight of the water once the dome is covered. Still, Mohammad Almasi, the designer and creator of the dome stands behind his work.

“We have performed continuous calculations of the structural integrity of the dome, of the acrylic compound, and of the concrete retaining structure at the base. This dome is as solid as it can possibly be, and it will stand for decades to come,” Almasi said.

Time will tell whether the dome will remain a viable means of protecting our cities and our people. But for all of us on the east coast of the United States, we sure hope they succeed. Ground was broken for the foundations of domes over Boston, Massachusetts and Baltimore, Maryland only a week ago.

Ben Maxwell is a staff writer for the Boston Chronicle. His stories focus largely on environmental issues and health matters. You can follow him online at our web site.

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