“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
– Charles H. Duell, 1899
“We will never make a 32 bit operating system.”
– Bill Gates, 1989
Do these quotes seem silly in retrospect? No doubt. However, there exists seemingly bulletproof wisdom of the ages that recent developments may end up overturning:
“Financial advice? Buy land. God ain’t making any more of it.”
– Mark Twain, 1869
As for the plans of the omnipotent, we don’t purport to know. However, the idea that land is the only way human settlements are going to develop is as near-sighted a remark as the famous “The horse is here to stay” quote from a banker advising against investing in the Ford motor company. Short term price fluctuations and demand spikes may indeed bring great wealth to prospective real estate developers, just as farm land will always bear fruit to the conscientious agriculturalist. We speak, however, of the idea that humans are never to transcend the bounds of terrestrial cities.
The case has been made for settlements on and below the sea, as well as for unclaimed lands such as Antarctica. On a different occasion, we’ve also spoken how the vertical aspect of settlements was severely under-utilized and how smart usage of upward and downward construction can improve the energy signature and efficiency of an urban (or otherwise) endeavor.