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  #21  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2015, 12:53 AM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Skyscrapers aren't killing all great cities.

Chicago is becoming even greater because of skyscrapers. Same as New York.
I have to wholeheartedly disagree. While I'm not familiar enough with Chicago to comment on its situation, New York is by and large not made better (or greater in terms of its urban environment) by skyscraper construction. New York's most popular, vibrant neighborhoods are decidedly non-skyscraper neighborhoods, but rather the ones that are far more human-scaled.
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  #22  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2015, 3:03 AM
jbermingham123 jbermingham123 is offline
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Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
I have to wholeheartedly disagree. While I'm not familiar enough with Chicago to comment on its situation, New York is by and large not made better (or greater in terms of its urban environment) by skyscraper construction. New York's most popular, vibrant neighborhoods are decidedly non-skyscraper neighborhoods, but rather the ones that are far more human-scaled.
thats because neighborhoods with skyscrapers tend to be commercial... the areas without skyscrapers are more exciting because they are more residential, not because they have fewer skyscrapers.
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  #23  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2015, 3:06 AM
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It's way more nuanced than that.

For one, the mix and density of uses is key. More density means more customers per acre, all else being equal. You can use 1/4 acre for 40 housing units or 400.

Major towers usually have competing uses for their ground floors, particularly on small sites. Retail is usually limited, and focused on a few "typical" types like lunch places. First generation retail is typically tenants with strong finances and sales history, i.e. chains. Independents don't necessarily help with lease rates upstairs, so there's no financial incentive to avoid chains, or such is the common thinking.

Busy lowrise areas in NY, or anywhere, rely upon people from elsewhere. They don't support themselves. You can't do that in many places. So preserve the Village, but that's not a recipe for other places with few exceptions.

Just some points on a hugely complex topic.
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  #24  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2015, 3:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jbermingham123 View Post
thats because neighborhoods with skyscrapers tend to be commercial... the areas without skyscrapers are more exciting because they are more residential, not because they have fewer skyscrapers.
ohhhhh... so that's what it is!

...

Seriously though, if that's you're reasoning, then what's you answer for... why do "neighborhoods" that are made up of nothing but residential skyscrapers suck so bad?
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  #25  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2015, 6:12 AM
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...Because residential-only neighborhoods don't have much daytime use, particularly in the most urban-type locations that tend to be nearly all adults. So they don't do well with retail. And residential-only neighborhoods almost by definition aren't good for nightlife due to noise concerns.

Score one for mixed-use if you want an active neighborhood.
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  #26  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2015, 3:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
...Because residential-only neighborhoods don't have much daytime use, particularly in the most urban-type locations that tend to be nearly all adults. So they don't do well with retail. And residential-only neighborhoods almost by definition aren't good for nightlife due to noise concerns.

Score one for mixed-use if you want an active neighborhood.
Question wasn't really meant to be answered. Posed to display the fallacy of the below statement.

"the areas without skyscrapers are more exciting because they are more residential, not because they have fewer skyscrapers"
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  #27  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 2:07 PM
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London lacks much 20th century landmark architecture, simply because two wars and struggles against european competitors made it difficult (not enough money) to build a london version of the chrysler or chanin or empire state building or rock center or the GE building on lexington or 20 exchange place or AIG or woolworth building. lack of money in the 1930s hampered london, plentiful money in the 1920s-30s made the difference for NYC.
It wasn't a lack of funds that prevented skyscraper development in London prior to the outbreak of WW2. London's geology; a composition of clays and sands were unsuitable for early-era skyscraper development. There was also the small issue that for a quarter of a millennia, no building in London could rise above 365ft (111m) which is the height of St Paul's Cathedral. Even after the war - when restrictions were eased with the construction of the BT Tower (1964) and the Nat West Tower (1980) - the poor record of post-war council towers which used to dominate most British city skylines, suppressed the appetite for high-rise living and working.

The dramatic rise of the skyscraper since the start of the new millennium in London is mostly driven by the insatiable population growth; with growth of 122,000 in the year to mid-2014. Last year the city surpassed its previous peak (1939) population level and even surged past the population of New York. Factor in the lack of developable land, the Green Belt, conservation areas, sightlines, etc... and you have good conditions for upward movement. Which is why entirely new clusters such as at Vauxhall (http://i4.minus.com/iwoQsAa35L1b1.jpg) have emerged. Every other day a new project appears to materialise, and only yesterday a 156m mixed-use tower in the City was approved (13-14 Appold Street: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...ostcount=15622), and a potential 200m residential tower was unveiled in Canary Wharf (Phase 4: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=344). These are exciting times.

chris08876 - Some of those renders are a bit out of date. The first image is also a fantasy merger of the City and Canary Wharf clusters into one. The total volume of proposals is also far higher.
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  #28  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 2:17 PM
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It wasn't a lack of funds that prevented skyscraper development in London prior to the outbreak of WW2. London's geology; a composition of clays and sands were unsuitable for early-era skyscraper development.
that explanation doesn't really wash.

chicago is one of the pioneer cities of the skyscraper as a building type and it has one of the absolute worst geologies for skyscraper construction. the whole damn downtown area is a former marsh, with unstable clays extending down to 200' below grade in spots before you hit the dolomite bedrock. that didn't stop chicago's visionary engineers, who invented various foundation solutions to help birth the skyscraper building type into existence in the late 19th century.

if chicago was able to build loads of skyscrapers throughout the 20th century on shitty, shitty soil, london would have been able to do likewise, but there were obviously other forces at play.
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  #29  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 2:26 PM
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This is backwards and distorted thinking, skyscrapers do not enhance anyones lives except for the developers who pocket the money and the billionaires who live in their penthouses, the buildings being torn down are quintessential NYC buildings with character and history.

This is exactly why central Paris has such strict height regulations, at the least French learned from their mistakes of tearing down pre-war architecture in the 50's and 70's, when will the U.S.?


Some cities are made for skyscrapers. Its what gives them their identity and prestige. Skycrapers do not kill great cities... crappy street life does. Take a city, with a dynamic street life, now add skyscrapers, and it overwhelms the senses. Cities like Chicago, NYC, Hong Kong, SF, Seattle, and so on have that density, that overwhelms visitors, and the whole cityscape is greatly enhanced when there are tall towers everywhere. Not only that, but its a question of economics really. Less space, great demand, must build up.

The OP seems like the type of guy who would go to NYC or Chicago on a visit, be amazed, love it, but simply can't handle the awesome urban in your face experience that those cities offer 24/7.
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  #30  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 3:20 PM
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Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
Its what gives them their identity and prestige.

Skycrapers do not kill great cities... crappy street life does.
Skyscrapers give a city it's skyline, but I would argue against the identity and prestige points. Some measure of those in a visual sense, definitely, but they are not what defines a city... at least not to me. But I'm not as dazzled by big shiny things as many on here are.

Though quite often skyscrapers do most definitely result in crappy street life, by presenting bland, lifeless sections of the streetwall or vast empty plazas at their bases. Many cities do a terrible job with the integration of skyscrapers into the existing fabric at street level.
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  #31  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 3:39 PM
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Vast empty plazas, parking podiums, short podiums of any kind, blank walls...lots of stuff can be done poorly. If they have too much parking they can be massive traffic generators.

But when they use land efficiently, include retail and multiple entrances at ground level, and limit parking (or have none), it gets way better. When uses are mixed (hotel, office, housing, etc.) the result can be outstanding vibrancy, either around the buildings or at the nearst high street.
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  #32  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 4:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Vast empty plazas, parking podiums, short podiums of any kind, blank walls...lots of stuff can be done poorly. If they have too much parking they can be massive traffic generators.

But when they use land efficiently, include retail and multiple entrances at ground level, and limit parking (or have none), it gets way better. When uses are mixed (hotel, office, housing, etc.) the result can be outstanding vibrancy, either around the buildings or at the nearst high street.
Absolutely. When done right, they can be central hubs for street-level activity.
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  #33  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 4:51 PM
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The more interesting neighborhoods are never the ones with humungous skyscrapers. London’s problem is that they’re completely out of scale with the rest of the city, self-consciously so. Even in NYC, those areas tend to be cold and unwelcoming, the city’s version of a business park. And the ground-floor of skyscrapers are more vulnerable to bad design and failure.
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  #34  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 4:56 PM
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misplaced blame. it's not just skyscrapers that are done poorly. Most cities do a terrible job of integrating any new building into the urban fabric.
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  #35  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 5:43 PM
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I'm not buying the article.

While I do agree that sometimes an area of skyscrapers can have a cold sterile feeling, in the bigger picture they can do good things for a city. It means you have large amount of workforce in a given area, and with that you can have the opportunity to building nice, vibrant medium density neighbourhoods that tie in and interact to the tall towers.
That is how it is becoming in my home city of Calgary...a city with a CDB full of good sized towers, but also a group of burgeoning vibrant neighborhoods that interact with the core of office towers.

Once upon a time Calgary's downtown core was just a group of tall office towers that became vacated after 5:00pm, as all the workers made their way to the suburbs. Today, though the towers are still there, and in fact there are even more of them, but the whole inner city downtown core is far more vibrant, and it's the place to be. It's not the towers themselves that make or break the city, it's how things evolve around those towers.
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  #36  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 5:50 PM
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Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post


Some cities are made for skyscrapers. Its what gives them their identity and prestige. Skycrapers do not kill great cities... crappy street life does. Take a city, with a dynamic street life, now add skyscrapers, and it overwhelms the senses. Cities like Chicago, NYC, Hong Kong, SF, Seattle, and so on have that density, that overwhelms visitors, and the whole cityscape is greatly enhanced when there are tall towers everywhere. Not only that, but its a question of economics really. Less space, great demand, must build up.

The OP seems like the type of guy who would go to NYC or Chicago on a visit, be amazed, love it, but simply can't handle the awesome urban in your face experience that those cities offer 24/7.
I didn't even post that in this thread, why would you quote me here and totally out of context?

If you read my actual post in this thread you would know that I'm not against high-rise development at all.
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  #37  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 5:52 PM
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Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
Some cities are made for skyscrapers. Its what gives them their identity and prestige. Skycrapers do not kill great cities... crappy street life does. Take a city, with a dynamic street life, now add skyscrapers, and it overwhelms the senses. Cities like Chicago, NYC, Hong Kong, SF, Seattle, and so on have that density, that overwhelms visitors, and the whole cityscape is greatly enhanced when there are tall towers everywhere. Not only that, but its a question of economics really. Less space, great demand, must build up.

The OP seems like the type of guy who would go to NYC or Chicago on a visit, be amazed, love it, but simply can't handle the awesome urban in your face experience that those cities offer 24/7.
Skyscrapers don't give San Francisco identity or prestige. With the exception of Union Square, the skyscraper districts here are by far the least interesting areas of the city.
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  #38  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2015, 8:04 PM
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Well, to be fair to the author, it seems to me (having never been there) that London suffers from two problems. The first is that it was largely rebuilt in the absolute worst era for urban development in human history, with the result being that what got built was soul-poisoning ugly. The second is that a lot of what's gotten built, and more of what was planned, in the skyscraper construction of the past couple of decades is ghastly and cartoonish. The walkie-talkie is a disgrace. The rainbow dildo would have been even worse.
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  #39  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 12:41 AM
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Skyscrapers don't give San Francisco identity or prestige. With the exception of Union Square, the skyscraper districts here are by far the least interesting areas of the city.
Agreed. SF's 1-3 story neighborhoods are definitely the most iconic part of SF, particularly The Mission, The Castro, Chinatown, and Ashbury Haight among others.

I'm a huge fan of Western/Mediterranean European cityscapes of 4-7 story buildings blanketing the urban fabric, but that doesn't mean other cities can't be great just because they don't have that cityscape.
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  #40  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 12:57 AM
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If a skyscraper is at the intersection of a retail street, and a non-retail street, any building entrances, lobbies, parking garage entrances, etc. should face the non-retail street so that the retail street can be a continuous retail streetwall. Yet many cities I've been to have lots of skyscrapers with building entrances and the like facing the retail street. This creates awful dead zones and gaps in the retail streetwall.

The reverse is happening just around the corner from me. A building entrance for an older highrise that faces a retail street is being converted to retail space. Anyone who wants to enter the building in the future will have to walk around the corner to the cross-street. The building frontage facing the main street will now be 100% retail space.

That should be a requirement in city codes.
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