It seems that "real" space colonization will involve asteroid mining, building asteroid habitats, and constructing ships in asteroid belts.
By rings I mean everything from the "halo" behind the "Halo" series of video games to ring worlds as in Larry Niven's "Ring World" series of books. The rings should be incredibly expensive to build, fragile, and have incredibly huge populations with little or no native resources (but they would be great for farming or research.)
The same line of tech (something like "nano-tech based construction in a vacuum") could go into asteroid mining, asteroid habitats, halos, ring worlds, and building ships in an asteroid belt.
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