Beware The Skyscraper Curse

<p>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?</p>
December 12, 2006, 8am PST | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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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

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Published on Monday, December 11, 2006 in Bloomberg News
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