Why building skyscrapers and tallest buildings, the purposes, advantages and necessities

In February 2016, a proposal for a hyper-tall building was widely reported by global medias, the building was proposed in Japan that set to be built in Tokyo Bay before 2045 and will rise to a height two times of Burj Khalifa, that’s great but 2045 is too late, it’s very possible that it will never be built.

Tokyo Bay mile high tower
The render of proposed mile high tower on Tokyo Bay

Not long after that, another hyper-tall project was reported widely, this time is a more reliable one, this hyper-tall tower is almost same size with that one in Tokyo and proposed by Emaar the same developer that developed renowned Burj Khalifa. This building set to be a notch taller than Burj Khalifa and will be completed by 2020 before the Dubai World EXPO starts, replacing Burj Khalifa for the title of World’s tallest building. 2020 is a countable year so that’s a reliable project, as of 2017, the tower has been under construction.

The Tower proposed by Emaar
Rendering of The Tower proposed by Emaar

Aside from these two projects, there are some other proposals that also aim to become the tallest skyscrapers, the foremost one is the Jeddah Tower, which is set to be higher than 1 kilometers tall, and has been constructed to a height of more than 200 meters as of March 2017.
And in 2015, the medias reported that a port city in Iraq named Basra plans to build a 1200m tower.
More and more cities are competing to build higher skyscrapers, no matter the population and strength of the city.

However this sort of news raise the questions and critics from some people and groups, including BBC, Daily Telegraph and some so called architecture experts, they doubt the necessity of building the towers that tall, they consider it unnecessary and think it is a waste of money.
Their reason is nothing but something like listed as following, in their eyes, Dubai is a city that has enormous available land to use and no need to cost so much to build the tallest building; Tokyo is regularly influenced by earthquakes then a tallest building built there is inappropriate.
To them building a tallest tower is irrelevant with realistic conditions and have no practicability and necessity.
In fact their statements are complete wrong.

In some cities the usable land is very scare, build higher could maximize the land use rate

First, Dubai seemingly has massive land to build the buildings, but actually usable land is rare, the inland desert is too hot for living, they have to build the building in waterfront spaces and building taller to maximize the space. For this they also build many canals. This is also the reason that Palm islands and the World islands are being developed. They do this for increasing the usable land. Additionally tall buildings should be built before the low-rise buildings, by this way can avoiding the troubles and obstructions come from the NIMBYs in the future.

Earth quake actually don't affect the security of skyscrapers

The earthquakes in Japan and some other regions actually don’t affect the security of tall buildings, high-rise buildings have been proved to be safer than the low-rise buildings, those buildings collapsed in earthquakes are all low-rise buildings, we never heard a hundreds meters tall building collapsed because of earthquake, with current technology, an 1-kilometer tall hyper-tall tower can resist an earthquake of 9 on Richter scale, in technique earthquakes don’t restrict the height of a building at all.

Skyscrapers can beautify and modernize the cityscape

In fact the seeming necessity is not the only factor considered by skyscraper developers.
What differentiate us human being from animals is that we are not only after necessity of survival, we also need spiritual enjoyments.
If we just consider what they call necessity then the different styles and colors of our clothes is not needed any more, that is the spiritual pursuit of human make us need those different and colorful styles, and tall building is like such a style, to have a hyper-tall tower added to the city could enriching the skyline to make the cityscape more attractive. Maybe this is why today many star architect is designing skyscrapers more than the traditional buildings.

Some people say the second largest city of America appears like a huge village when they come back from the trip to Los Angeles, feeling that the city lacks of tall buildings.
Although in fact Los Angeles has many skyscrapers, they are generally limit within the downtown area, the overwhelming part of the city consisting mostly of innumerable bungalows. As there’s no traditional tourist attractions before the open of Skyspace on US Bank Tower in downtown, the general foreign tourists can’t notice those downtown towers at all.

high-rise buildings in Los Angeles
As shown in this picture, high-rise buildings in Los Angeles are in the minority.

Skyscraper is a sign of modern, its existence could deeply affect people’s impression of a city.

Skyscrapers can improve the identity of the city

Almost every renowned city has its own landmark building, which is their icon image, it is key component that make the city different from other cities, it demonstrates the strength of the city and stands for the city’s prosperity and development and the soul of the city. In short the icon building is an indivisible element of every city.
The most well-known example is Eiffel Tower in Paris. By the time of it was proposed, the tower had been widely criticized by many experts and celebrities, including some familiar people like Maupassant who has been always featured in today’s literature textbooks, but today Eiffel Tower has already become the icon of Paris, and even the symbol of romance.
A landmark building of a city is always a high-rise building, like Eiffel Tower which mentioned above, and such as Empire State Building in New York City, Taipei 101 in Taipei, Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The intention of Dubai to build a new tallest Tower is to make it become a 21 Century’s Eiffel Tower.
Such landmark buildings could heavily improve the identity of a city, every time someone heard Taipei then think of Taipei 101, heard Dubai then think of Burj Khalifa.

Skyscrapers can improve the value of the land around it

Tower is also an unique addition to landscape, its appearance could significantly boost the value of surrounding proprieties, for instance, a house faces to the sea costs more than ordinary houses and still in great demand, the reason is nothing else than the outside scenery it provided.
Great skyline could also effectively prompt the surrounding proprieties sales, skyline-view houses are similar to sea-view houses as the scenery of tall towers is just as attractive as sea, a great many buyers hope they can see such a magnificent tower from their residences. So a tallest tower is not only providing residences within the tower, but also lots of salable residences surrounding it.

A tallest tower could beautify surrounding communities
A tallest tower could beautify surrounding communities.

Skyscrapers can become tourism destinations

The other function of the tall building is attracting more attention from global medias and tourists. When Dubai announced the new tallest building in April 2016, in no time it gets featured in numerous media reports, once again successfully promote this tourism city.
Dubai located at Persian gulf coast, an oil-rich region, the city’s development was mainly relying on oil trade in the past. They realized that oil will be run out sooner or later, began to develop tourism and gradually becomes a pillar industry of the city. The profit brought in by tourism always more obvious, an noted example is Empire State Building in New York City, the revenue generated from its observation is even higher than rental income.

Alongside with the new tallest tower that is being developed by Emaar, some other projects of mega-tall building above 600 meters is also ongoing in Dubai and aimed to be completed by 2020. By constructing so many high-rise towers Dubai is making them as a tribute to the upcoming 2020 World Expo in order to show visitors a new image of the city. In plain words, without these new tall buildings then people come here to see what?
Dubai frequently constructing the tallest towers is closely bound up with its development of tourism industry. As a center of business and tourism in Gulf area, developers in Dubai is developing a quantity of towers for hotels and entertainment, as Dubai plans to double the amount of tourists to 20 million by 2020 from 10 million in 2012.

Skyscrapers can bring numerous job oppotunities

Construction of these skyscrapers could bring the city economic benefit and improving the image of the city, it can also create a multitude of job opportunities, it is estimated that the preparation for upcoming 2020 World EXPO can create 270 thousand employment positions, among them a considerable amount come from construction of high-rise towers.

Skyscrapers can show a sign of greatness

Aside from the pursuit of aesthetic, developing a tallest building has great significance in engineering field. Constructing a tallest building is challenging the ultimate limit, isn’t constantly breaking the record is what people pursuing as we always pay close attention on things like Olympics and Guinness Records while these things also have nothing to do with necessity and utility. We just can’t stop making the effort to surpass ourselves.
Pyramids are world-renowned for the fact of that they were such a striking and enormous project by that time, not for their actual function, as they function no more than private mausoleums which have nothing to do with most people, and also from a practical view the mausoleums could work fine without need to be so huge. Same goes for some other ancient miracles, they are highly praised even without the real necessity.

Skyscrapers could create more living space for the increasing population

The last point is hyper-tall building could effectively solve some problems we now have to facing, that’s the problems of increasing population.
It is said that by current growth rate of population, theoretically the population will increase to hundreds of billions in a few hundred years. How to solve the problem of living space by that time? Even today there are many cities are facing the problems of living space, the airport in Osaka is built on the sea as the space in the city is almost used up.

kansai international airport Osaka
kansai international airport in Osaka

There are two methods to solve the increasingly serious population problem, one is to develop the space upwards, another is to develop towards the ocean, before performing the latter one we should do the former first. By building more high-rise buildings could increasing the land utility, saving more space. Constantly trying to build some higher towers is making preparation in advance for enough living space in the future.
Moreover, these days high-rise buildings are considered more environmentally friendly. A city without high-rise buildings must constantly to expand to suburban areas to create more living spaces, in that case, the inhabitants will drive longer distances to get to the city center, thus generating more vehicle exhausts. With more skyscrapers built in the city could effectively shortening the distances and reducing the pollution.


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