This was an interesting concept for an inflatable habitat, intended for the ISS until Congress killed it. Basic idea, I think, was something that could fit in the cargo bay of a space shuttle and then be expanded out to about twice that diameter to serve as a working space:
The walls are an engineering marvel. Probably needs to be below the radiation belt, since that was what the ISS was aiming for, but I'm guessing you could design one for a high orbit setting by finding a way to integrate water or hydrogen into the wall design to serve as a shield against high-energy protons. Or, I understand they're thinking up ways to provide shielding as light-weight plastics for the proposed Mars missions; maybe you could spray on a plastic layer after it was deployed.
The Wiki entry on it has a bit more detail:
And then Atomic Rockets has a TransHab calculator to design one, although I think it's still a work in progress:
In the Trav universe, something like this could be designed as a cutter module, delivered to orbit on a cutter, then expanded out to serve as a station. Or you could design one that fit the cargo bay of a fat trader. Set one up as a base for the construction crew who are building more permanent orbital structures, or as a cheap and temporary base around some airless or hostile-atmosphere world that your scientists are investigating. Set one up on an asteroid as a base camp for mining - they set up quick compared to building a structure, and in that context they could be moved from asteroid to asteroid fairly easily by some tow ship even after they were expanded and occupied.