Which City Has the Most Skyscrapers?

January 21st, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate

Is It Hong Kong or New York

Is It Hong Kong or New York?

Very few subjects on the topic of architecture divide opinion as much as sky scrapers. For many, a sky scraper is a demonstration of the art of structural engineering taken to its ultimate level – both literally and metaphorically. For others, there is an impression that the presence of sky scrapers on a skyline is as much a demonstration of an absence of imagination as anything else. As children, we look upon a sky scraper in wonder. How could anything be that tall? How could anything man-made reach that high? It is hard to avoid being impressed even as you get older. So many sky scrapers are still built today because people continue to be amazed by what structural engineers can do.

Where there is scope to impress, there is also competition. This fact, whether it occurs to people or does not, has inspired human behaviour in countless and varied ways. Witness the space race. Witness dance-offs. And, naturally, witness sky scrapers. These buildings exist, in no small part, because someone did it first, and someone else wants to beat them. City authorities and private companies are certainly not above asking aloud the question “How tall was the one they built? OK, let’s make ours one foot bigger!”. The concept of competitive ambition collided with the practice of architecture, and the sky scraper was what resulted. In terms of advertising a holiday destination or a business city, one of the most powerful images any advertiser can use is a picture of the city’s skyline. If that skyline is dominated by sky scrapers, the city is deemed successful and interesting. People will want to visit a place with a lot of sky scrapers, even if they are not quite sure why.

This has led to an interesting (if you like this kind of thing) dispute over the question of which city has the most sky scrapers. Believe it or not, this is the source of no little controversy, with figures from the website Emporis (considered experts on the topic of building) suggesting that Hong Kong is at the top of the tree with more than seven thousand buildings and counting. However, if you could one sky scraper as being a building from its own unique platform, then New York’s 5,000+ total will be more than Hong Kong’s.

The source of the controversy is that, for counting purposes, some will use the number of towers that reach a certain height (150 meters, as often as not) as the number of sky scrapers. Others will only count one skyscraper even if multiple towers of sufficient height spring from the one platform on the ground. So some will say that New York has the most sky scrapers, some will argue that it is Hong Kong. Others still will point out that Dubai is building the world’s largest sky scraper, and will argue that this is at least as important, as it is more groundbreaking. Then still others will argue that sky scrapers are a blot on the landscape and should not be encouraged. This is the nature of debate.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on June 15, 2009.

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