A Rorschach Test for City Skylines

In a photo essay, Thomas J. Sigler interprets what the skylines of some of the world's most prominent cities say about their character.

Is your city a "Power Broker" or an "Oligopolis?" Thomas Sigler asks the skylines of some of the world's most famous cities to sit on his analyst's couch and comes up with some interesting diagnosis.   

For instance, he attributes the surprisingly low-rise nature of Cairo, Mumbai, and Mexico City to a historically unreliable urban power grid, "which means that elevators, water pumps, and other necessities of high-rise living were untrustworthy."

Another type are cities like Taipei and Kuala Lumpur that seem to suffer from tower envy; and construct a single oversized icon to put themselves on the map.

So what is an Oligopolis? "Found primarily in North America, the Oligopolis is marked by the clear dominance of a handful of prominent towers headquartering firms in the region's key industries," writes Sigler. "A key feature of these cities' downtowns is parking lots, a clear indication that CBD land isn't exactly in high demand. Examples include Pittsburgh and Houston, where CBDs turn into ghost towns after the districts' workforces have headed back to the ‘burbs for the evening."

Full Story: What Your Skyline Says About Your City
Tags: 

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00