Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Empty State Building

Five of the 10 tallest buildings in New York City today were planned at the tail end of the ebullient 1920s and completed in the early 1930s. In their day, they were the tallest structures in the world, but it took more than a decade for the Empire State to stop being the “Empty State Building.”
That's Edward Glaeser, of Harvard, known for a wide body of economic research including "his work examining the historical evolution of economic hubs like Boston and New York City."

He says Dubai "has condensed three different stages of growth into less than 50 years."

It's in the third stage, and stumbling:
Dubai’s long-run success depends on attracting skilled workers who will not stay in a city that offers only sun-baked purgatory. For a decade, the sheik has tried to promote a third type of growth for Dubai, by turning the city into a place of pleasure with soaring skyscrapers, vast malls and spectacular luxury hotels.

Just as Las Vegas has long succeeded by allowing more misbehavior than Nevada’s neighbors, Dubai recognizes the opportunity that comes from the strictness of neighboring Islamic states....

While Dubai’s good infrastructure, pro-business government and consumer amenities may enable the city to eventually succeed as a connector between the West, the Middle East and India, Dubai has now massively overbuilt relative to the level of current demand. Dubai now has the tallest building in the world, and 11 skyscrapers that are taller than any European building.

Fifty-story buildings are an efficient way to deliver plenty of space, but extreme height is far more expensive and a bellwether of irrational exuberance.
Read it all.

So if the Empire State Building was called the Empty State Building, what nickname do you think is appropriate for the Burj Dubai? (Follow last link, move mouse over image of the tower and click to see comparison to Empire State Building and skyscrapers.)

Comments are open.


Blogger Seabee said...

"extreme height is far more expensive"

It also has a limit where it stops being practical and therefore commercial.

Burj Dubai is probably about as high as is practical, maybe it's even crossed that line. Who wants to live or work somewhere that high when so much time is wasted getting to and from it?

Run out of bread and need to pop down to the convenience store? It'll take half the evening!

3:15 PM  

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