In the beginning, those will undoubtedly be constructed in Earth orbits - where they are needed to construct and operate solar power satellites, to build and/or maintain the commercial satellites we depend upon for weather information, television (DirecTV, Dish Network, even cable television), Sirius Satellite Radio, and other services.
Over time, space settlements will become their own economy, their own reason for being, just as the European colonies in the Americas eventually became independent of their founding nations and developed a vibrant and growing economy that no longer depended upon the support, resources, or even markets of Europe to thrive.
It is easily conceivable that by the end of the 21st Century several million people will inhabit a dozen or more orbiting space settlements. Indeed, it is possible that in less than a thousand years more people could live in space than on Earth.
Asteroid resources make it possible - and affordable - and even profitable.
Copyright ©2012 by AsteroidSettlementAndPower.com