Beware The Skyscraper Curse

World's tallest skyscrapers tend to top out just as economic growth cycles end. With megatowers in Taipei, Shanghai, and Dubai are nearing completion, will the "skyscraper curse" kick in yet again?

Commentaor William Pesek surveys extremely tall buildings planned or in construction worldwide: Taipei, Chicago, Shanghai, India, Russia, and compares them to economic crises that coincided with previous tallest-building frenzies: Chrysler building and Empire state at the Great Depression, the Sears Tower and the World Trade Center coinciding with 1970s stagflation, for example.

"...history shows an uncanny correlation between tallest building projects and financial crises. Be it in Kuala Lumpur in 1997, Chicago in 1974, New York in 1930 or the biblical Tower of Babel long ago, mankind's penchant for architectural overreach is a strangely reliable omen of troubles."

"In India, developers are planning to build a 140-story skyscraper in the city of Gurgaon, near New Delhi. In 2008, South Korea will complete the 1,903-foot International Business Center, which the government hopes will solidify Seoul's place as a global business hub. Massive skyscrapers also are being considered from Australia to Russia to Brazil."

" ... the plunge in the U.S. dollar analysts have predicted for years may come in 2007. Other risks include a slowdown in China, higher global interest rates and inflation and geopolitical risks from North Korea, Iran, Iraq and a number of other regions. Oil prices also might climb anew."

Thanks to James S. Russell

Full Story: The 'Skyscraper Curse' Is Worth Watching in 2007: William Pesek

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95