Thought I'd place this here as I just discovered the guy a while back and I love a lot of the topics he covers. Here he walks about a 'space escalator' type device called a Lofstrom Loop which is held up using active support structures. Which could get launch vehicles to higher altitudes so they don't waste fuel. And with a little planning and research we could build this without having to deal with carbon nanotubes.
But that isnt a solution we need to stick to, no a Lofstrom Loop could be the precurser to an orbital ring. A ring of wire or metal balls in a tube propelled in a circular motion to cancel out earths gravity with forward velocity by electromagnets that both propell the ring forward and repel themselves away from it, remaining stationary and giving a platform for positioning orbital stations or launch platforms, from there tethers could reach down to major cities providing a way up for regular people into space onto the stationary electromagnetic platforms.
Issac talks about it more here.
I'm posting this here because I think that we've been caught up in space elevator hype for too long that we arent looking at the alternatives, or how infinitely more awesome they are and sound. Also because I've been dying to discuss it with people XP