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A Defense of 'Out of Scale' Buildings

Beauty is often known to break the rules.
July 24, 2020, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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High-Rise Development
Roschetzky Photography

"Are tall buildings that tower above their surroundings inappropriate?"

That's the question posed by Daniel Herreges to commence an article that scores provocative points about a long-held belief in how cities segregate their tallest buildings to specific, discrete neighborhoods, usually the central business district (CBD).

Another question follows, about the kinds of landscapes, exemplified by towers of rocks surrounded by flat land, and how those landscapes are usually accepted as beautiful and compare to examples in cities where tall buildings are surrounded by shorter buildings. 

The article relies on visuals to raise these potential hypocrisies and make the case for allowing more tall buildings in cities, even in neighborhoods outside the CBD. 

But Herreges also uses words to persuade the reader: "The point is that the argument that tall buildings should not exist near short buildings for reasons of compatibility is fundamentally about subjective preferences, and we should be intellectually honest in recognizing that."

Herreges ties the discussion back to his own writing from March of this year, about the "garbage language" of planning, of which he includes "out of scale."

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Published on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 in Strong Towns
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