Skip to main content

Up, Up and Away

I really like Ed Glaeser's article on Skyscrapers in this month's Atlantic. It's interesting because it offers a historical perspective on very tall buildings that I was mostly unfamiliar with. Glaeser also does a very good job of explaining why skyscrapers are (theoretically) beneficial to cities and the people who live in them.

(from Geff Rossi on Flickr)

Unfortunately, I think the article leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Glaeser talks a lot about New York City, and how restrictions on new buildings result in ridiculously high rents. His counter-example in Chicago, which he contends is much less restrictive when it comes to new building and, as a result, has much lower commercial and residential rents.

But no discussion of building restrictions would be complete without a look at the cities that have outright height limits. Glaeser describes two - Paris and Mumbai. Aside from a single mention of Crystal City, Virginia, there's no other reference to Washington, DC - the largest and most important American city with strict height restrictions.

New York and DC share some important similarities - they're both wildly expensive places to rent a home or an office or open a retail business. These two cities also look very different - DC has a flat skyline with short buildings, and Manhattan is an island of skyscrapers. Glaeser would say that both would benefit from more building, because what matters is that's less supply than demand in both places, even if New York already has lots of tall buildings.

Still, it's an uphill battle to convince preservationists in DC that tall buildings would work, when 200 miles to the north we have a city with the tallest buildings and the highest rents. Glaeser's explanation for why it is this way is a good start, I hope he take take the analysis to the next level and really try to show why DC specifically would benefit from more skyscrapers.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Good Advertising

The blogosphere seems to be one fire over Microsoft's new "Lauren" TV commercial. Frankly, I don't see what the commotion is about.



If the critics are correct, then "Lauren" is actually Lauren De Long, a Screen Actors Guild eligible actress; and apparently, if you look close enough, she never even enters the Apple store.

Even if all of that is true, it doesn't refute the fact that Apple's laptops are significantly more expensive than most PCs. It isn't a lie that Apple doesn't sell any 17-inch laptops for less than a grand. The advertisement doesn't make any reference to the quality of the machines (or contest any of the claims made in Apple's "I'm a PC" commercials) or provide any good reason to buy one other than price.

As far as I can tell, after years of horrible commercials and a series of flops, Microsoft seems to finally have hired an ad agency that put together a decent advertisement. It's not likely to persuad…