The Problem With Skyscrapers

Michael Mehaffy writes that there is growing research that paints a decidedly mixed picture on the benefits of tall buildings.
February 23, 2011, 8am PST | Anonymous
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There are significant negative ecological impacts of tall buildings, as well as other negative factors, and the ecological benefits are not as great as is often assumed, says Mehaffy.

"Often cities like New York and Vancouver are cited as stellar examples of dense ecologically superior cities with tall buildings. It's usually assumed that it's the tall buildings in these cities that give them the edge.

These cities are indeed very positive when it comes to carbon and other ecological metrics. But it's often overlooked that tall buildings are only a fraction of all structures in these places, with the bulk of neighborhoods consisting of rowhouses, low-rise apartment buildings, and other much lower structures. They get their low-carbon advantages not from density per se, but from an optimum distribution of daily amenities, walkability and access to transit, and other efficiencies of urban form."

Thanks to Robert Steuteville

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Published on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 in New Urban Network
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