From our eclectic reader, Daily Scot:
Many longtime residents of San Francisco, Miami and other hot U.S. cities complain of “Manhattanization” when developers put up 20- or 30-story apartment complexes. In Portland, Oregon, they’re debating the wisdom of 40 stories.
They should try 100 stories on for size — or not, if they value the amenities of urban life. That’s the height of a megatower proposed for downtown Seattle. It was “downsized” from 102 stories after aviation authorities warned the tower could interfere with air traffic. …
What’s so terrible about megatowers? They cause wind tunnels at ground level. They block out the sun, putting huge swaths of city in shadow. They create canyons trapping air pollution and heat in summer. They kill others’ views.
Michael Mehaffy, an architectural critic based in Portland, Oregon, has likened super-tall residential buildings to vertical gated communities cut off from the neighbors far below. Furthermore, the buildings are often half empty.
That’s because these ultra-expensive spaces are being marketed to a global elite seeking a safe place to stash their money. Billions are pouring in from Russia, China,Saudi Arabia and Latin America. …
Seattle’s proposed 4/C megatower — so named for its location at Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street — would be the tallest building on the West Coast. Why would Seattleites want such an outlandishly high structure?
“Vancouver envy,” Mehaffy responds, referring to the tower-crazed Canadian city about 150 miles to the north. “The irony of that is a lot of people there are upset at the development.”
Such discontent may explain one Vancouver developer’s announcement that his project’s $18 million penthouse would be sold only to a local resident. …
The theme this campaign season is ordinary Americans’ wanting their power back. That should extend to politics on the very local level. Residents have a right to determine the destiny of their neighborhoods.
The real estate barons often call the shots in America’s city halls. The people must tell the politicians inside that there will be consequences to ignoring their opinions.