Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 02:02 | SYDNEY
Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 02:02 | SYDNEY

Cloud city: Why go super-tall?


Sam Roggeveen


11 August 2011 15:59

Via Free Exchange, here's an academic paper that looks at the economic motives for constructing tall buildings.

The obvious answer is that, since land is valuable, it makes sense to get the most rent out of every square metre. But that's not the whole story. According to the paper, firms are willing to pay higher rent for taller buildings because (1) the reputation of the building allows them to attract better workers, and (2) the density of tall buildings increases face-to-face interaction, which improves productivity. So much for the virtual office.

Urbanisation is one of the most important trends of our age, but it seems as if we're entering a new stage of it. Buildings like the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (left; image from Wikipedia), which, when finished, will be comfortably the world's tallest building, at 1000m, are almost cities in themselves. Beijing's Linked Hybrid building — eight residential towers with interconnecting pedestrian bridges and in-built retail, education and recreation spaces — is another example.

Photo of Linked Hybrid development in Beijing by Flickr user Wojtek Gurak.