Spend Your Life In A Skyscraper?

Excuse the exaggerations!

Do humans thrive above the seventh floor?

Will all these “luxury” high-rises make cities better? Sure, skyscrapers have defined cities for over a century, but can cities survive a complete change-over?

Why is that never questioned? Maybe nobody wants it — will want it.

Perhaps boomers, seeing, in their lifetimes, so much wealth created through real estate, decided that if a seven story apartment building from 1950 is worth ‘x’ a 70-story building will be worth 10x today! Sounds logical!

What they didn’t figure is that one building may confer status, dozens of them confer banality.

You might think, as I did, that there would always be people who’d want to live in the city, who would occupy these buildings (even if as squatters). The experience in China should give us pause. People said it was too scary to live on a floor by yourself and without much retail nearby it wasn’t safe or practical.

In order for all the skyscrapers going up to remain viable they must reach near capacity. Many already suffer from too many absentee owners.

Will some of these skyscrapers become vertical blight?

Don’t get me wrong. There are young people who enjoy their lifestyle; retired people too. But on a long-term basis? My sister has enjoyed her first year in one of these buildings. Next year she plans to leave.

It’s hard for me to describe these structures — the life they offer — in a way that doesn’t sound like dystopian science fiction.

And most windows don’t open.

Here’s the building from 1961’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Do young people prefer skyscrapers over this? I sure didn’t.

We conceived our children in buildings like that.

In this, 65 Bank Street, as a matter of fact.

I don’t believe young people will want to live in skyscrapers anymore than I did at their age.

Where are the Hollywood romances shot in these new luxury towers? Who dreams of living their lives in a skyscraper?

It’s 2021. The media goes on about supply chain shortages, interest rates, job, viruses, freedom — while right in front of our eyes the big story blots out the horizon, goes higher and higher, denser and denser — offering the surest path to mental illness, I can imagine.

I believe all these high-rise condos and apartments are a man-made disaster. As avoidable as the dust bowls of the 1930s. The very thing they define, city-life, they may be killing off.

Nobody really wants them. No one was asked. Have these developers borrowed a page from China’s playbook? Will they suffer the same consequences? Buildings that ultimately have to come down? We shall see.

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I try to write stories with an alternate view, seldom discussed in the general media.

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Max Rottersman

Max Rottersman

I try to write stories with an alternate view, seldom discussed in the general media.

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