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Tracking the Skyward Progress of Western U.S. Cities

A Washington Post feature analyzes the changing skylines of cities from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
February 6, 2019, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Downtown Construction

Scott Wilson provides the copy and Aaron Steckelberg provides the infographics in a must-read feature planners and urbanists all around the country, but especially in the Western United Stats.

"From the Rockies to the Pacific, cities are seeking to accommodate increasing populations amid housing shortages by growing up instead of out," writes Wilson. "A number of them, including this mile-high city hard against the Front Range, are considering projects that would construct some of the tallest buildings in the West."

According to Wilson, the recent development of taller, centrally located buildings reverses course for these cities, which have sprawled outward, rather than reaching upward, for decades.

"The towers are the showpieces, but across these urban centers, which have sprawled into suburbs for years, new housing and office projects also are being built taller than ever before. The construction is focused around public transportation centers, and, in some cases, cities are allowing heights to rise beyond original zoning rules as a reward for builders who contribute more to affordable housing."

It's a familiar narrative for Planetizen readers—the "return to the city" movement driving the revitalization and redevelopment of once-abandoned urban cores around the country. The new trick with this article is found in the graphics that showcase the buildings redefining height in the cities like Denver (the planned tallest building, 650 17th Street would reach 1,000 feet, far above the current tallest building, Republic Plaza, which reaches 714 feet). Graphics for Seattle, Long Beach, and Sacramento, along with passages of analysis into the land use and zoning changes driving new building heights, are also included in the article.

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Published on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 in The Washington Post
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