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Open AccessArticle

Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat of the 21st Century: A Global Perspective

School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
Urban Planning and Policy Department, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Buildings 2012, 2(4), 384-423;
Received: 26 July 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 10 September 2012 / Published: 28 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tall Buildings)
The tall building is the most dominating symbol of the cities and a human-made marvel that defies gravity by reaching to the clouds. It embodies unrelenting human aspirations to build even higher. It conjures a number of valid questions in our minds. The foremost and fundamental question that is often asked: Why tall buildings? This review paper seeks to answer the question by laying out arguments against and for tall buildings. Then, it provides a brief account of the historic and recent developments of tall buildings including their status during the current economic recession. The paper argues that as cities continue to expand horizontally, to safeguard against their reaching an eventual breaking point, the tall building as a building type is a possible solution by way of conquering vertical space through agglomeration and densification. Case studies of some recently built tall buildings are discussed to illustrate the nature of tall building development in their respective cities. The paper attempts to dispel any discernment about tall buildings as mere pieces of art and architecture by emphasizing their truly speculative, technological, sustainable, and evolving nature. It concludes by projecting a vision of tall buildings and their integration into the cities of the 21st century. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tall buildings; new technologies; urban design; future cities; sustainability Tall buildings; new technologies; urban design; future cities; sustainability
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Ali, M.M.; Al-Kodmany, K. Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat of the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. Buildings 2012, 2, 384-423.

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