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barakat

The demise of skyscrapers?

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Below is an excerpt from a recent writing by urban design guru James Howard Kunstler called "A Reflection on Cities of the Future." Though Nashville isn't specifically mentioned therein, it's a thoughtful read on the future of cities and buildings. I can appreciate a tall building for the technology used to create it, and for its imposing size, but I don't think we need them unless they at least offer something substantial at street level for those who don't use the building otherwise. Manhattan Island might 'needs' talls due to limited space, but Nashville and many other cities can achieve density without them. Might the tall buildings some people love one day be a huge burden to future generations? Might they be replaced with something more ecologically and economically viable?

excerpt:

"Those who are infatuated with skyscrapers are going to be disappointed. I do not think we will be building many more of them further along in this century. We will have trouble running the ones we have, since most of the glass towers built after 1965 have inoperable windows, and even the ones that have them would have to be retrofitted for coal furnaces, and a less than absolutely reliable electric power grid may make life in a twenty-fifth floor apartment impossible when the elevators go out. In short, I think we will discover that the skyscraper was purely a product of the cheap oil and gas age. Exciting as they may be, we might have to live without them."

full piece: http://www.kunstler.com/mags_cities_of_the_future.html

main site: http://www.kunstler.com/index.html

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Interesting, but the guy definitely needs a new website. That thing is horrid.

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Interesting how two people who have referenced this article here on UP and over at NC have only picked out Kunstler's point about the untenability of the skyscraper in our urban future as worthy of interest and discussion. Did nobody catch the parts about western society basically reverting to a pre-twentieth century model, globalization, air travel and worldwide shipping decreasing significantly. Regions becoming more isolated and self-dependent for food and resources, people being re-tied to the land, cities not located in significantly advantageous geographical locations will lose prominence and importance (Nashville?). Oh and my personal favorite, inner-city youth will stop killing each other for petty theft and drug squabbles and start targeting the rest of us for competition for scarce resources.

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These kinds of predictions have been made for decades. I put it in the food for thought category. They present lots of good ideas for future designs of urban living. I daresay the article doesn't delve into the real fact that high rises are very efficient (for energy, land use, etc.).

They also reference gloomy possibilities for the future and make us all think about some basic survival tools. Among other things, it presents a few reasons why I and my wife own firearms and are trained to use them. LOL

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