Are Skyscrapers Bad for Us?
Author: Bill Wynn
Well according to Investment Bank, Barclays Capital, yes. I read with interest Skyscrapers 'linked with impending financial crashes', an article written by the BBC today, given that we supply many companies with staff that build skyscrapers.
In summary, Barclays Capital state there is an "unhealthy correlation" between the building of skyscrapers and subsequent financial crashes. For example, the Empire State building, built as the Great Depression was under way, and the current world's tallest, the Burj Khalifa (below), built just before Dubai almost went bust.
China is currently the biggest builder of skyscrapers and India has 14 skyscrapers under construction. "Often the world's tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction," Barclays Capital analysts said.
The bank noted that the world's first skyscraper, the Equitable Life building in New York, was completed in 1873 and coincided with a five-year recession. It was demolished in 1912.
Other examples include Chicago's Willis Tower (which was formerly known as the Sears Tower) in 1974, just as there was an oil shock and the US dollar's peg to gold was abandoned.
And Malaysia's Petronas Towers in 1997, which coincided with the Asian financial crisis.
The findings might be a concern for Londoners, who are currently seeing the construction of what will be Western Europe's tallest building, the Shard, which will be 1,017ft (310m) tall on completion.
Personally I love these buildings as they demonstrate the ingenuity of our species and with an ever-growing population throughout the world we are going to need taller buildings of that there is no doubt. So in summary they are good for us as well as bad...