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Old October 24th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #21
gonzo
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^Yeah it doesn't make sense for Tokyo to centralize office space. Imagine all those people commuting to ONE business district. It would be a nightmare.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 09:26 AM   #22
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^

If we look at Washington DC, they had every opportunity to build tall but chose not to. Is the city poorly planned? I would argue the contrary.
Washington is a capitol city, not a business city; it is a Government town, not a head office city. Is it your opinion that Manhattan is "poorly planned" because of its "skyscrapers"? I would argue the contrary, and I would repeat my claim that "skyscrapers" get built where they are needed, and they do not get built when they are not needed. Rarely do they get built for fun, or simply vanity.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 12:20 PM   #23
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Well the reason Tokyo's skyline isn't as impressive is because it has several skylines, instead of just one single skyline.
Are there any major Asian metropolises that do not have several skylines/business districts? Yet many of them look very impressive (as does Tokyo).
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Old October 26th, 2010, 06:52 PM   #24
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Are there any major Asian metropolises that do not have several skylines/business districts? Yet many of them look very impressive (as does Tokyo).
Most asian skylines have a central or prominent skyline (and then a continuos high density with occasional skyscrapers). Only Seoul comes close for the division of it's skylines but even then not really Bangkok is another one.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 04:37 AM   #25
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skyscraper is better than landed house/office in some cities, when the city's population is getting larger
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Old October 27th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #26
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Most cities that have a lot of tall structures are newer cities that didn't have ancient structures in the downtown area.
Very interesting discussion. As a note Tokyo, Hong Kong nor Mexico City are "new cities". In the case of Mexico City or the former Tenochtitlan there were many ancient structures, in fact the city looked nothing as it does today. The Spaniards didn't place a high value on the former city nor of its culture, so perhaps skyscrapers are not symbols of affluence but of culture and class and the respect given to what it has replaced. Anyway very interesting discussion nonetheless. As we move forward skyscrapers are going to become obsolete for purely functional reasons but that doesn't mean aesthetically they won't be desired.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 08:11 PM   #27
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A couple of thoughts. In an ideal economic world, the supply of skyscrapers does follow demand. But there are a wide variety of reasons that this doesn't apply and my guess is that most of them favor an over-building of skyscrapers.

First, government does not react to classic supply and demand since the politicians are not using their own funds and have no direct interest in potential profits or losses. They respond to their personal preferences combined with that of the most powerful pressure groups. The pressure groups are in general going to prefer highrises associated with themselves PLUS a limit on other highrises. The govt. effectively controls the building of these through subsidies, permits, taxation, limits on services, control of local judiciary, and steering of information flows and PR. The net result is that those with political connections are allowed to over-build and those without connections are excluded from the "top end" of the market.

Second, satisfaction of local demand for office space is not the sole benefit a corporation receives from a highrise. The corporate builder is likely to look upon benefits to its general worldwide image and status NOT to the purely local effects of the building. It is willing to make locally irrational decisions to maximize its worldwide benefit.
The result is their being neutral on whether excessive density occurs or if there is commerical building to the exclusion of residential, low-rise, open space, or other uses.

This is not to say that their are not other social groups that irrationally (in an economic sense) OPPOSE highrises or that there are others that lend support regardless of effects on other aspects of urban life.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 08:19 PM   #28
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Very interesting discussion. As a note Tokyo, Hong Kong nor Mexico City are "new cities". In the case of Mexico City or the former Tenochtitlan there were many ancient structures, in fact the city looked nothing as it does today. The Spaniards didn't place a high value on the former city nor of its culture, so perhaps skyscrapers are not symbols of affluence but of culture and class and the respect given to what it has replaced. Anyway very interesting discussion nonetheless. As we move forward skyscrapers are going to become obsolete for purely functional reasons but that doesn't mean aesthetically they won't be desired.
Like I say, "most" cities that have big concentrations of skyscrapers are in the New World (USA, Canada, Australia) because that is where the trend caught hold, especially post War WW2. Hong Kong is a good example of an older city that is full of skyscrapers, and the reason for that is obvious: it has a small amount of land to develop on. You could say that New York City is not a "new" city, either, as it was founded in 1624, but it has always been overwhelmingly a business city, and a city of head offices, whereas Washington was not. Mexico is an "old city" per se, but much of its true development as we know it today was in the 1800's and 1900's, the same as many other cities (like Montreal, for example). "Old" and "New" cities can both be built up with skyscrapers.

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Originally Posted by pesto View Post
A couple of thoughts. In an ideal economic world, the supply of skyscrapers does follow demand. But there are a wide variety of reasons that this doesn't apply and my guess is that most of them favor an over-building of skyscrapers.
.
Office vacancy rates are well known in most cities, and it varies from city to city whether it is overbuilt or not. Certainly the city I live in is still in a building boom, but it is not overbuilt. A person could say that Dubai is overbuilt, however. Each city has to be examined on its own.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:45 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
A couple of thoughts. In an ideal economic world, the supply of skyscrapers does follow demand. But there are a wide variety of reasons that this doesn't apply and my guess is that most of them favor an over-building of skyscrapers.

First, government does not react to classic supply and demand since the politicians are not using their own funds and have no direct interest in potential profits or losses. They respond to their personal preferences combined with that of the most powerful pressure groups. The pressure groups are in general going to prefer highrises associated with themselves PLUS a limit on other highrises. The govt. effectively controls the building of these through subsidies, permits, taxation, limits on services, control of local judiciary, and steering of information flows and PR. The net result is that those with political connections are allowed to over-build and those without connections are excluded from the "top end" of the market.

Second, satisfaction of local demand for office space is not the sole benefit a corporation receives from a highrise. The corporate builder is likely to look upon benefits to its general worldwide image and status NOT to the purely local effects of the building. It is willing to make locally irrational decisions to maximize its worldwide benefit.
The result is their being neutral on whether excessive density occurs or if there is commerical building to the exclusion of residential, low-rise, open space, or other uses.

This is not to say that their are not other social groups that irrationally (in an economic sense) OPPOSE highrises or that there are others that lend support regardless of effects on other aspects of urban life.
Governments set zoning, define the entitlement hoops, and award zoning variances. But otherwise they have little to do with how much gets built.

A development team needs savvy and patience to navigate the entitlement process. Political connections can be helpful sometimes (more access to electeds to get tough variances) but usually aren't necessary unless public funding is involved.

Overbuilding is really more about developers and lenders making bets and losing.

The exception would be places with extreme barriers to entry, and projects where a public agency is part of the development or funding team. Like a publicly owned site offered to developers.
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