Fear of Heights

In Toronto the fear of heights is grounded in a 1970s movement when residents were concerned with the impact of tall buildings on the character of what was a dense but very low city. A temporary ban was even enacted, and the low-is-good attitude lingers today. In New York and the rest of the US the fear of heights has diffe; it is entirely related to terrorism. Americans still have enough ego (or do they?) to want to build tall, but now they are afraid to do so based on 9/11.

The New York Times has an article today that echos my post of yesterday about the Burj and the Fordham. It again brings up the fear of tall buildings as targets and points out that this does not concern those in China, Taiwan or Dubai.

If you look at a table of the world's tallest buildings, you will see that today only two of the top ten are in the US (Sears and Empire State). Another couple years and it will be only one. The momentum is clearly elsewhere, and this is not something that started after 2001. Whether Americans are right to fear terrorism against tall buildings or not is not the point. The trend is clear and unmistakable. The land that gave birth to the skyscraper is looking at a modest future at the feet of Asian giants.


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