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The Sustainable Vertical City Research Project



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Photograph by author
The sustainable vertical city research project
This chapter explains the goals of this research
and outlines the involved scope of work. At the
architectural scale, the chapter stresses the im-
portance of examining a new crop of “green”
skyscrapers that promises to mitigate the un-
sustainable features of conventional skyscrapers.
At the urban scale, the chapter emphasizes the
careful integration of tall buildings with mass
transit. It is also crucial to encourage people to
use mass transit by improving payment mecha-
nism, streamlining boarding process, augment-
ing pedestrian and cycling networks, providing
affordable fares, enhancing the imageability of
mass-transit stations and the overall system,
and granting employees nancial incentives to
use mass transit. Further, the chapter outlines
the key factors that promote the Tall Building
and Transit-Oriented Development (TB-TOD)
model, including compensating for costly land,
boosting ridership, fostering agglomeration,
facilitating regional connectivity, accommodat-
ing suburban growth efciently, and support-
ing placemaking. It also highlights the roles of
parks, open spaces, and plazas in supporting
high-rise living. Finally, it claries miscon-
ceptions about tall buildings and density and
alerts about greenwashing.
As illustrated in the preceding chapter,
tall buildings are generally considered
“unsustainable” because they are costly
buildings, environmentally unfriendly, and
socially unhealthy. They also consume lots of
energy, materials, and other resources during
their whole life cycle, although they have merits
of saving land resources [1]. Tall buildings,
nevertheless, are becoming an inevitable
response to urbanization. Therefore, planners,
architects, community leaders, politicians,
and the public at large bear the responsibility
of nding effective ways to integrate them in
cities in a sustainable manner.
Wim Bakens elucidates these views by stating:
Tall buildings represent the most challenging
building typology from many points of view,
and they will inuence, for better or worse,
the future of cities worldwide. It is in our
possibilities to turn tall buildings into nice,
affordable and sustainable places to live in,
and academic and industry research is the
way forward [2].
Earlier, Ken Yeang mentioned the same views
by explaining:
The argument is simply that the tall building
is a building type that will just not go away
overnight, … the skyscraper as a building
type will continue to be built prolically,
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particularly to meet the demands of urban and
city growth … The fact is that the skyscraper
can never be a truly green building, certainly
not in totality. If we accept this premise, then
green designers, instead of negating it, should
seek to mitigate its negative environmental
impacts and to make it as humane and
pleasurably habitable for its inhabitants as
possible [1, pp. 411–412].
Therefore, this research investigates
solutions to make tall building developments
sustainable or least “unsustainable.” It
examines the required steps to integrate
them into their urban contexts by exploring
the symbiotic relationships that could occur
when introducing them into neighborhoods.
Through examples, it investigates keys to a
successful design that addresses the three
spheres of sustainability: social, economic,
and environmental. Concisely, it attempts to
answer the following interrelated questions:
1. How can we accommodate rapid urban
population growth in a sustainable
2. How can we make tall building
developments least “unsustainable”?
3. How can a high-rise city mitigate climate
change, resist natural hazards, and
decrease harmful impact on people and
the environment?
4. What are the best practices on
“sustainable,” LEED, and “green”
5. How can we “green” retrot aging tall
6. What are the key ingredients of a healthy
social infrastructure?
7. How can we increase density without
increasing crowding?
The promise of the “sustainable tall”
research is that given the large-scale
problems of conventional skyscrapers, any
improvements in their design, construction,
and contextual relationships with their cities
will be signicant. Since tall buildings serve
a great number of people and place a great
demand on the environment at large and the
immediate infrastructure of transportation,
sewer, and electrical grid, “green” design may
better serve tenants, mitigate environmental
impacts, and enhance integration with the
city infrastructure. Ergo, as architects design
taller buildings that serve more people and
demand more from the environment and
infrastructure, any improvement in their
design and construction will benet cities and
denizens. The long life cycle of a skyscraper
justies the initial cost of green features,
whether we incorporate them into the design
of new buildings or in retrotting aging ones.
These accumulated factors have engendered
a substantial demand for sustainable tall
1 Sustainable Towers
Stephen Mouzon of Mouzon Design, a planning
and architectural rm in Miami, FL, indicates
that to build sustainable cities, we must build
sustainable buildings within them [3, p. 43].
Surely, sustainable urbanism and sustainable
architecture go hand in hand. For example,
in discussing city’s energy consumption and
carbon emission, Sara Beardsley and Jeffery
Boyer explain: “In a city where 70 percent
of carbon emissions come from buildings,
a saving of 50 percent of electricity in all
buildings would cut carbon emissions by 35
percent” [4, p. 83]. Consequently, if we reduce
energy consumption, we can decrease the
required number of power plants and reduce
environmental harm.
Further, it is possible to reduce source energy
consumption by employing on-site generation
and geothermal technologies, harnessing
renewable energy sources (solar and wind)
and incorporating green elevators and energy-
efcient appliances. Moreover, the current
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Page 139
practice of obtaining power from national
and local electricity grid is “unsustainable”
because “up to 67 per cent of the energy in
fossil fuels burned in power stations is lost
during generation and transmission” [4,
p. 161]. This problem was insignicant when
smaller cities needed smaller power plants.
Today, in contrast, cities have built larger
plants out in the countryside, causing larger
transmission losses. Also, constructing large
plants in remote places has cut opportunities
of using district heating.
Likewise, numerous buildings today use
potable water for non-potable uses such as
toilet ushing, cooling tower’s replenishment,
and irrigation, among others. As such, we
can save signicant potable water by using
captured rainwater for watering gardens, for
example. Similarly, wastewater (or graywater)
generated by various building’s elements
(e.g., kitchen sinks, bath tubs, showers, and
laundry systems) can be treated, stored,
and used for non-potable uses. In the same
manner, new technologies allow capturing
and reusing signicant quantities of high-
quality condensate water generated by the
mechanical ventilation system. In the context
of vertical transportation, regenerative drive
systems harness the movement of elevators
and convert that to electricity, where the
systems return to the building’s power grid
to use for lighting and heating, for example.
“Such a recycling system can reduce the overall
elevator energy usage by up to 70 percent
compared to systems with non-regenerative
drives, lowering overall building operating
costs and delivering signicant annual savings
to building owners and tenants” [4, p. 159].
Practicing architects indicate that the benets
of early embracement of sustainable measures
reduce the long-term maintenance and
operational costs, providing a better return on
investment (ROI) [5]. Jianping Gu (President
and Board Director of Shanghai Tower
Construction & Development) illustrates
better ROI in his article “Shanghai tower:
building a green, vertical city in the heart of
Shanghai” by explaining that:
a sustainably designed building can reduce
sick time by two to ve days annually and
increase productivity by 4.8%. When one
is designing a skyscraper to accommodate
more than 30,000 people, the value of that
productivity increase justies the extra
expense involved in sustainable design
[5, p. 22].
Consequently, an increasing number of
architects believe that the prevailing trend will
be a new generation of skyscrapers, architects
call the “fth generation,” that aims for energy
saving and a carbon-neutral footprint. In his
recent article “Why efcient skyscrapers
will be essential to cope with growing
urban populations,” David Nicholson-Cole
demonstrates this trend by explaining that:
These exceptional new towers include a variety
of eco-friendly innovations, such as renewable
energy generation, solar shading and double-
skin facades with natural ventilation. They
will also feature greater thermal mass,
landscaped atriums, underground heat
storage, water catchment, recycling, linear
induction elevators, as well as vertical urban
farms, green planting, and facades and roofs
that generate electricity [6].
Importantly, governments and non-prot
organizations are increasingly offering a
wide range of incentives (e.g., funding,
stretching codes, and tax exceptions) to
encourage developers pursuing sustainable
development. Progressively, it is easier to make
the business case for sustainable products and
practices, and there is a growing consensus to
move away from a business-as-usual model to
a more sustainable future.
Therefore, sustainability redenes the tall
building typology regarding function,
technology, ecology, and user comfort [5].
A new generation of “sustainable” skyscrapers
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are “futuristic” buildings that take the lead in
setting new standards socially, spatially and
environmentally. The reviewed projects in this
book have received national and international
recognitions from architectural and planning
organizations. They stand for early work and
recent ones that have exerted a profound
impact on the architectural and planning
professions, and they come from various parts
of the world (Table4.1) [5].
In North America, this research examines One
World Trade Center, New York Times Tower,
4 Times Square, Bank of America Tower
(BOAT), and Hearst Tower in New York City.
It also examines the Bow Tower and Manitoba
Hydro Place in Canada and Torre Cube
in Mexico (Figure 4.1). The Tower at PNC
Plaza, Pittsburgh, sets a new benchmark in
sustainability by employing features such as
natural ventilation, optimal solar orientation,
water recycling, and waste diversion, among
others. The BOAT at One Bryant Park was
the rst commercial high-rise to achieve
LEED Platinum certication, the highest
rating available from the U.S. Green Building
Council. Drawing on concepts of biophilia
(people’s innate need for connection to the
Table4.1: Pioneering sustainable skyscrapers; organized based on geographic regions [4]
No. Building name City Architectural height Floor count Completion
m ft
1 One World Trade
Center New York City, NY 541 1,776 94 2015
2 New York Times
Tower New York City, NY 319 1,046 52 2007
3 4 Times Square New York City, NY 247 809 48 1999
4 The Tower at PNC
Plaza Pittsburg, PA 166 554 33 2015
5 Salesforce Tower San Francisco, CA 326 1,070 61 2017
6 Bow Tower Calgary, Canada 237 779 57 2012
7 Manitoba Hydro
Place Winnipeg, Canada 115 377 22 2008
8 Torre Cube Guadalajara,
Jalisco, Mexico 70 230 16 2005
9 Deutsche Post (Post
Turm) Bonn, Germany 162 533 42 2002
10 Swiss Re Tower London, UK 180 590 40 2004
11 GSW Headquarters Berlin, Germany 81 267 22 1999
12 KWF Headquarters Frankfurt am
Main, Germany 56 184 14 2010
13 Pearl River Tower Guangzhou, China 309 1,015 71 2013
14 Greenland Group
Suzhou Center Suzhou, China 358 1,175 77 2018
15 Shanghai Tower Shanghai, China 632 2,073 128 2015
16 Parkview Green
FangCaoDi Beijing, China 87 285 18 2010
17 Doha Tower Doha, Qatar 238 781 46 2012
18 O-14 building Dubai, UAE 106 348 24 2010
19 Al Bahar Towers Abu Dhabi, UAE 120 394 29 2012
20 1 Bligh Street
Building Sydney, Australia 139 455 28 2011
572213.indd 140 28/05/18 6:24 PM
Page 141
Figure4.1: The Hearst Tower in NYC. Completed in 2006, it received the 10 Year Award
from the CTBUH, acknowledging its sustainable performance, global impact
on tall buildings’ design and industry, and respect for the built heritage. Foster
placed the tower atop the hollowed shell of a 1928 landmark ofce building.
Its unique diagrid structure also saved 2,000tons of steel and used 26% less
energy than a building constructed to normal code. Ninety percent of utilized
steel was made from recycled materials. Further, developers imported merely
10% of all its materials, reducing cost and carbon emissions. Importantly,
since completion, the building has continued to receive several environmental
upgrades, thereby allowing it to keep pace with the latest green standards.
(Photograph by author)
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natural environment), the vision was to create
the highest quality modern work place by
emphasizing daylight, fresh air, and an intrinsic
connection to the outdoors. To that end, it uses
high-performance low-iron glazing units that
offer natural daylighting and energy efciency,
while facilitating strong visual connections
between indoor and outdoor environments.
The BOAT achieves signicant energy cost
savings by employing a 4.7 MW (megawatt)
gas-red turbine to generate power and using
the waste heat internally for heating loads and
to run absorption chillers [4]. Interestingly, the
proposed shape of the Solar Carve Tower by
Studio Gang would bring 200more hours of
daylight annually to the adjacent High Line
Park than a building adhering to NYC zoning
regulations (Figure4.2).
Figure4.2: The proposed shape of the Solar Carve Tower by Studio Gang would bring
200more hours of daylight annually to the adjacent High Line Park than a
building that adheres to NYC zoning regulations. (Photomontage by author;
background image: courtesy of Google Earth)
572213.indd 142 28/05/18 6:24 PM
Page 143
One early example of a sustainable vertical
development is the Battery Park City in
NYC. In 1999, developers embraced a policy
requiring all new buildings to have on-site
wastewater recycling systems. Ten years later,
the 92-acre complex had six buildings that use
treated rainwater and recycled blackwater
for toilet ushing, air-conditioning, laundry,
and park irrigation. Consequently, these
applied measures have reduced the demand
for potable water by 50%. Further, the
neighborhood connects well with mass-transit
systems and enjoys walkable places with
public parks [7, p. 32] (Figure4.3).
Vicki Elmer and Paula Kehoe explain that the
3Rs for solid waste (reduce, reuse, and recycle)
have been implemented since the 1970s, but
the 3Rs will be applied increasingly to water
because it is lacking in many places. Therefore,
developers increasingly implement on-site
water treatment and reuse in residential,
commercial, and mixed-use buildings around
the globe. Elmer and Kehoe further explain:
Today, local developers in both wet and dry
states are getting in on the game with the
goal of “net zero” or “net positive” water for
individual building projects. Some of these
Figure4.3: Battery Park City in NYC is an early example of a sustainable vertical
development. In 1999, developers embraced a policy requiring all new
buildings to have on-site wastewater recycling systems. Ten years later, the
92-acre complex had six buildings that use treated rainwater and recycled
blackwater for toilet ushing, air-conditioning, laundry, and park irrigation.
Consequently, these applied measures have reduced the demand for
potable water by 50%. Further, the neighborhood connects well with
mass-transit systems and enjoys walkable places with public parks.
(Photograph by author)
572213.indd 143 28/05/18 6:24 PM
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projects also recover energy from wastewater
and solid waste with integrated water-energy-
waste systems [7, p. 33].
Remarkably, LEED and other rating systems
are among driving forces toward water self-
sufciency by encouraging taking advantage
of rainwater falling on the building and site
and reusing blackwater, graywater, and
stormwater. These measures are appreciated
when we learn that “almost 50 percent of all
the potable water used in a typical residential
building is for non-potable uses like clothes
washing or ushing the toilet” [7, p. 33].
That percentage increases to around 95% in
commercial buildings.
This study also examines European
skyscrapers that have been embracing green
design principles, including the Deutsche
Post (Post Tower), Swiss Re Tower, and
GSW Headquarters, among others. The KfW
Westarkade in Frankfurt, Germany, is one of
the rst ofce towers in the world to run on less
than 90kWh/m² of primary energy per year.
It employs numerous sustainable features,
including natural ventilation, geothermal
energy, and thermally activated slabs (TAS)
– a system of pipes built into the solid oors
channels water to serve as both a heating and
cooling medium. Due to the high thermal
storage capacity of the solid concrete oors,
TAS offers energy-efcient, comfortable,
and sustained room temperatures. KfW
Westarkade reinforces Germany’s strong
reputation for achieving highly sustainable
ofce high-rises [8].
In Asia, the Pearl River Tower, Greenland
Group Suzhou Center, and Shanghai Tower
are offering beacon examples of green archi-
tecture. In Beijing, Linked Hybrid applied
an extensive geothermal and comprehensive
water recycling and rainwater harnessing sys-
tem due to water shortage in the city. Important-
ly, it weaves together a mix of residential and
retail, cinemas and kindergartens, hotels and
art galleries, swimming pools and parks—all
within a single complex—creating a new model
of social sustainability. The International Com-
merce Centre (ICC) in Hong Kong is a leading
example of good management, from a com-
mercial, environmental, and community stand-
point. Over the years, ICC’s owners have made
signicant “green” investments that have in-
creased the building’s energy efciency [9].
In the Middle East, Doha Tower, O-14
building, and Al Bahar Towers form a
design shift from “imported” to “custom-
based desert prototype” that addresses
environmental issues and protects occupants
from the high heat and gusts of sandy wind,
while reducing carbon footprint. In Australia,
the newly constructed 1 Bligh Street building
has provided Sydney with an excellent
commercial building that is setting new
standards in sustainable architecture for high-
rise buildings.
In the context of vertical transportation, new
systems such as the MULTI system could
change skyscrapers’ forms and shapes by
enabling architects to eliminate one of the prime
constraints in the design of a tall building, that
is, the “vertical” elevator (see Chapter 13).
Likewise, to enhance emergency evacuation
and circulation of vertical developments,
architects increasingly integrate skybridges
in high-rises. For example, the Tencent
Seafront Towers 1 and 2in Shenzhen, China,
incorporate multi-story bridges that connect
the two towers. In addition to easing the
ow of people between the two towers,
these bridges contain common amenities and
services to foster social interaction.
This research also examines tall buildings that
aim to improve the building’s life cycle by
using recycled and recyclable materials and
ensuring sustainable construction processes.
Progressively, architects and developers use
recycled materials for constructing “green”
skyscrapers and recycle construction materials
to minimize buildings’ carbon footprint.
Construction workers of 1 Bligh Street building
572213.indd 144 28/05/18 6:24 PM
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in Sydney have recycled 94% of construction
waste. One Central Park, also in Sydney,
recycled 90% of its construction waste, and
much of the employed building’s materials
were recycled ones. Similarly, Parkview Green
FangCaoDi in Beijing, China, pursued “green”
construction where it recycled 81% of its
construction waste materials (Figure4.4).
Further, “green” projects source materials
locally to cut transportation costs and reduce
carbon dioxide emission. For example, the
Visionaire Tower in New York City not only
recycled over 85% of construction waste but
also sourced 50% of construction materials
within a 500-mi/800-km radius [4, 10]. Other
projects use prefabricated elements such
as stairs, bathrooms, and pillars to reduce
construction waste (e.g., B2 Tower in Brooklyn,
New York; see Chapter12). Notably, “green”
towers use non-toxic materials in the building
and its furniture and aim to incorporate
greeneries in major spaces such as sky parks,
gardens, and atriums.
Similarly, for environmental and health
reasons, architects and developers are
interested in using mass timber as a prime
building material (including structural) for
high-rises. Thomas Robinson and colleagues
explain that their decision to build tall in
timber “stems from the team’s objective
of environmental responsibility, and a
belief that this new paradigm for urban
construction might appeal to people who
want to make their homes in a setting where
climate consciousness is an evident priority”
[11, p. 27]. Building tall using timber is on
the rise. In 2008, there was one mass timber
building over eight stories high, and by 2018,
Figure4.4: Parkview Green FangCaoDi in Beijing, China. The project pursued
a “green” construction where it recycled 81% of its construction
waste materials, minimizing the complex’s carbon footprint.
(Photograph by author)
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there will be about 50 of such buildings,
including built, under construction, and
proposed, according to a survey by the
CTBUH [12, p. 47].
In addition to sequestering CO2, wood
provides embodied energy savings and a
unique, enhanced visual aesthetic. Ben Tranel
and Hao Ko give a quantitative assessment
of the environmental benet of incorporating
wood into a building. “About 122,000metric
tons of CO2 was calculated as the difference
between a conventional aluminum façade and
a wood façade” [13, pp. 18–19]. Nevertheless,
a continuing challenge for using wood is re
resistance. Jeff Saner and Todd Snapp explain:
“Establishing timber as ‘non-combustible’ is a
challenge. A wood sample would need to be
genetically modied, treated, or engineered as
a composite material to pass the ASTM E 136
test for combustibility” [14, p. 41].
Progressively, new building and cladding
materials enjoy remarkable features, including
lightweight, superior weather, re resistance,
and great energy efciency performance that
are available with myriad nishes and custom
shapes. These features make new materials
appealing to the buildings’ designers and
owners [4] (Figure4.5).
Also, this study recalls the history of green
design since the 1890s, when architects
designed early skyscrapers in “H” or “U”
shapes or with central atria to maximize
natural sunlight and ventilation. Iconic
towers such as the 319 m (1,046 ft)-high
77-story Chrysler Building in New York
City have relied on natural ventilation and
daylight. As such, sustainable towers may
embrace passive green design strategies by
integrating operable windows, sky gardens,
and “vertical” courtyards and by ensuring
proper orientation and spatial layout.
An early modern example that applied
the “vertical” courtyard concept was the
National Commercial Bank in Jeddah, Saudi
Arabia (see Chapter7).
Undoubtedly, green rating systems (GRSs)
are changing the way we design, construct,
operate, maintain, and retrot our buildings
and communities worldwide. Increasingly
comprehensive, these GRSs help to reduce
energy consumption and associated greenhouse
gas emissions in both the construction and
management of buildings, which consequently
reduce negative impacts on the local and
global environments. Newer developments of
these systems intend to expand their scope of
concerns to include workable strategies that
address the entire building’s life cycle. In this
respect, this research examines skyscrapers
that have attained LEED certication or are
in the process of attaining it. It discusses the
design themes and green features of some
of the early LEED-certied skyscrapers and
elaborates on recent developments from
various parts of the world.
Rating systems concern not only designing
new skyscrapers but also retrotting older
ones. Therefore, this research examines
“green” retrotting of existing tall buildings
stock, which has a massive ecological footprint.
Abandoning or demolishing aging buildings
is not a “sustainable” solution because they
hold “millions of kilowatt hours of embodied
energy regarding material production and
transportation, component manufacture,
construction and erection” [4, p. 72]. As
such, if we demolish an aging skyscraper,
we lose massive embodied energy. Instead, a
“green” retrot results in improving building
conditions while achieving signicant cost
Retrotting aging high-rises will be one of
the important sustainability measures to
apply to modern cities. Indeed, there are
long lists of inefcient all-glass curtain wall
buildings, initially promoted by the modernist
movement, that are due to retrot. The all-
glass curtain wall buildings rely on articial
ventilation, cooling, and heating and suffer
from poor insulation, which collectively make
them energy intensive. The increasing costs
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Page 147
Figure4.5: New cladding materials feature lightweight, superior weather resistance,
and great thermal performance that are available with myriad nishes and
custom shapes; the case of the Rush University Medical Center (top) and
150North Riverside (bottom), Chicago, IL. (Photograph by author)
572213.indd 147 28/05/18 6:25 PM
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of energy required to ventilate, cool, and heat
buildings have sparked serious steps toward
green retrot.
The 110-story Willis Tower (formerly Sears
Tower) offers an illustrative case. SOM
designed the tower in the late 1960s and
constructed it in the early 1970s when
energy prices were exceedingly affordable.
Nevertheless, upon opening the building in
1974, energy prices were at record highs in the
United States because of the Middle East oil
embargo. The tower’s owners have recently
conducted a “green” retrot that reduced its
energy use by over 35% since construction.
Examples of energy conservation measures
for a skyscraper include adding green roofs,
upgrading lighting, plumbing, oor-by-
oor HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-
conditioning) systems, and providing rush-
hour shuttle service to support mass transit.
The payoff of a “green” retrot could be
dramatic. For example, the 80-year-old
Empire State Building (ESB), the rst to top
100stories, has undergone a “green” retrot
to make it more energy efcient. The retrot
project involved upgrading 6,500 windows,
placing extra installation around radiators,
and applying efcient lighting system. The
building’s owners expect these “green”
improvements to offer a saving of $4.4million
annually in energy costs. ESB’s owners also
expect that the renovations will reduce the
building’s carbon emissions by 105,000 tons
in the next 15 years [7]. Remarkably, some
of the ESB’s clients are interested in re-
embracing passive design strategies originally
incorporated in the tower. For example,
Swedish Construction Company Skanska has
demanded to restore the original building’s
passive design conditions [4].
Another noteworthy “green” retrot
example is the Taipei 101in Taipei, Taiwan.
The tower implemented sustainable design
when completed in 2004. Interestingly,
since then it has implemented a ten-plus-
year upgrade program that has allowed
the tower to reach unprecedented levels
of green standards. The program involved
numerous green features, including the
installation of efcient lighting xtures and
plumbing systems, a robust waste collection
system, an occupant engagement scheme,
and a data collection system that helps to
optimize performance [13, 15]. These green
retrot projects function as role models for
existing buildings while setting a benchmark
of sustainability for new tall buildings
worldwide. Indeed, “green” retrot projects
of older buildings give a sense of how
tall buildings, regardless of their age, can
become sustainable ones [15].
Further, waste management systems for
high-rises are advancing in recent years. For
example, Al Dar Headquarters in Abu Dhabi,
UAE, employs a subterranean vacuum waste
collection system, which channels the waste
directly to a local waste transfer station for
recycling and compacting. The Tower at
PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh, PA, applies a waste
diversion system, while Taipei 101’s owner
has retrotted the tower with a robust waste
collection system.
1.1 Plant and tree-covered towers
Importantly, architects have been promoting
a new type of “green” towers, namely the
plant and tree-covered tower. This model
initially followed the work of Ken Yeang
who advocated “biophilic urbanism,” where
the city and buildings integrate ora and
fauna to promote the innately emotional
afliation of human beings to other living
organisms. Yeang contended that we should
build our cities by using organic, soft, and
natural materials, as opposed to hard and
rigid, to address environmental issues of
air pollution, urban heat island (UHI), and
climate change. He looked into designing the
high-rise typology in the 1990s as “vertical
green urbanism” and stressed improving the
572213.indd 148 28/05/18 6:25 PM
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ecological linkages between a building and
its surrounding landscape. Indeed, there is a
growing recognition of the healing power of
nature, and by creating physical “ecological”
linkages, we foster connectivity, interaction,
and mobility of a wider range of species.
In the context of tall buildings, Yeang has
promoted the notion of vertical landscaping
to facilitate these ecological linkages. Table4.2
lists important projects by Yeang that illustrate
this design trend [1].
From a sustainability perspective, vertical
landscaping is desirable because it offers a
plethora of benets, including:
Improving the environmental health
of indoor and outdoor spaces by
producing oxygen, ltering polluted
air, dust, and reducing urban noise,
thereby improving people’s comfort and
productivity: A 5m diameter canopy or
40m2 of a vegetated wall covered with
dense planting can produce the yearly
oxygen requirement for one person
[16, 17]. Also, plants sequester carbon
from the atmosphere.
Enhancing aesthetics and offering a local,
vernacular touch when indigenous plants
are used.
Improving habitat resilience and species
Bringing nature closer to the city and
softening their “urban jungle” effect.
Increasing biodiversity by attracting
species such as birds, butteries, snails,
crickets, and tree frogs.
Reducing stress levels of individuals
exposed to greeneries.
Potentially, providing an agricultural
source (see Chapter11).
Protecting from grafti and vandalism.
Protecting the building from the solar
load and hence reducing required energy
to cool the building during summer time
and reducing carbon emission.
These combined factors reduce the UHI
effect and help to combat climate change.
Consequently, architects and planners
increasingly integrate vertical landscaping in
tall buildings. Leaders of this trend include
Stefano Borie, Vincent Callebaut, Jared Moore,
Jean Novel, Yansong Ma, Emilio Ambasz, and
Milroy Perera, among others. Remarkably,
botanist and garden designer Patrick Blanc
has inuenced this design direction. The plant
and tree-covered towers trend is spreading
worldwide, creating a new architectural design
paradigm that responds to environmental
problems and climate change while offering
exciting aesthetics. Table 4.3 lists recent
projects that illustrate this new trend [18].
Notably, Singapore has instated a citywide
landscape replacement policy that mandates
a minimum of one-to-one replacement of
ground-level nature with vertical green
elements—this, in turn, has promoted plant
and tree-covered towers. What makes this
possible is that Singapore has a tropical
environment where growing trees and plants
is relatively easier. ParkRoyal on Pickering
and CapitaGreen are exemplary projects of
this trend [19].
1.2 ParkRoyal on pickering
ParkRoyal on Pickering (2013) in Singapore
offers ofce and hotel spaces and has been
widely recognized for its vegetative scheme
that features large balconies and terraces
covered in 15,000m2 (161,459ft2) of tropical
plants, water features, terraces, and green
walls in its many sky gardens. As such, this
16-story complex achieved more than 200%
of the site area in green replacement by
integrating greenery in sky gardens along
the facade, bringing lush greenery directly
to the guestrooms and public areas [19].
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Interestingly, the podium design embraces a
“geological form” that echoes topographical
contours, vividly seen in the faced and
1.3 CapitaGreen
Also located in Singapore’s Central Business
District (CBD), CapitaGreen (2014) features
lush greenery (vegetation covers 55% of the
perimeter of its facade) with the intention to
reconnect people to nature and reintroduce
the greenery that was present on the site
before it was developed. The 242 m (794 ft)
tower employs a double-skin facade that
consists of an outer skin of frameless glass
and an inner skin of double-glazed oor-to-
ceiling glass that reduces solar heat gain by
up to 26%. The facade also incorporates a
maintenance ledge that facilitates easy access
to the greenery. In addition to double-skin and
greenery features, the building integrates a
“wind scoop” that pulls in cooler air from the
outside and channels it to each oor through
an inner “air well” [20, 21].
Overall, the plant and tree-covered tower
offers a promising sustainable model. It
represents a paradigm shift from “garden
city” to “city in a garden.” This subtle but
important change emphasizes the desire
for a more immersive nature and a view of
urban life where nature is not the “icing on
the cake” element or a lonely landscaping
project, rather the predominant, integrative,
and ubiquitous feature of the city. Plants and-
trees covered towers support biodiversity
and promote ora and fauna. They offer
“quiet spaces,” where tenants can enjoy
peaceful contemplation, attractive views,
and fresh air. In these towers, people will
be able to listen to sounds of many bird
species, crickets, tree frogs, katydids, and
Table4.2: Examples of “ecological” tall buildings by Ken Yeang [1]
Project name City Stories Use Completion
Solaris Tower Singapore 15 Ofce 2011
National Library Singapore 16 Library 2005
Menara UMNO Penang Island,
Malaysia 21 Ofce 1998
MBf Tower Penang, Malaysia 21 Residential 1993
Menara Mesiniaga
Tower Selangor (Subang Jaya),
Malaysia 15 Ofce 1992
IBM Plaza Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia 24 Ofce 1985
Spire Edge Tower Manesar, Gurgaon,
India 21 Ofce Under Construction
The Editt Tower Singapore 26 Mixed use Unbuilt
Chong Qing
(Chongqing) Tower Chong Qing, China 26 Ofce Unbuilt
The Bank of Investment
and Development
Vietnam (BIDV) Tower
Ho Chi Minh City,
Vietnam 40 Mixed use Unbuilt
K Tower Kuwait City, Kuwait 65 Ofce Unbuilt
Eco-Bay (5 towers) Abu Dhabi, UAE 10–30 Mixed use Unbuilt
Elephant and Castle Eco
Tower London, UK 40 Residential Unbuilt
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Table4.3: Examples of plant and tree-covered towers. Note that Bosco Verticale has the
largest total percentage of green coverage at 42% and the largest total surface area
coverage at 10,142m2 (109,168ft2). The Met Building has the tallest green wall rising
about 200m (656ft) in a thin strip [18]
Project City Floors (above
ground) Green coverage
of total facade Completion
Agora Garden Tower
(Tao Zhu Yin Yuan) Taipei, Taiwan 21 -2017
Brisbane Vertical Forest Brisbane,
Australia 14 -2018
The Met Bangkok,
Thailand 69 14% 2009
La Tour des Cèdres Lausanne,
Switzerland 36 - -
Boscu Verticale
(Vertical Forest) Milan, Italy 27, 19 42% 2015
One Central Park Sydney, Australia 34 -2012
One PNC Plaza Pittsburgh, PA 30 1% 2009
ACROS Fukuoka Fukuoka, Japan 14 28% 1995
ParkRoyal on Pickering
hotel Singapore 16 11% 2015
Oasia Downtown Singapore 27 2015
Newton Suites Singapore 36 10% 2007
School of the Arts Singapore 10 26% 2011
The Clearpoint
Residencies Colombo,
Sri Lanka 46 -2017
B3 Hotel Virrey Bogota,
Colombia 9 15% 2011
Gramercy Sky Park Makati 73 0.4% 2011
IDEO Morph 38 Tower Bangkok,
Thailand 32 23% 2013
Consorcio Santiago Santiago, Chile 17 22% 1993
Council House 2 Melbourne,
Australia 10 2% 2006
Athenaeum Hotel London, UK 9 9% 2009
Pasona Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan 9 20% 2010
Hotel Intercontinental Santiago, Chile 16 29% 2011
Helios Residence Singapore 20 7% 2011
Trio Apartments Sydney, Australia 16 0.7% 2009
grasshoppers, while watching snails and
butteries traveling across plants [19].
In addition to enhancing “soundscape,”
these towers have the potential to enhance
the “smellscape” of the city. Indeed, some
vegetation provokes wonderful and attractive
smell. The implementation of this model
could be for the entire building or part of it, for
example, for parking structures (Figure4.6).
Nevertheless, it is important to note that
ensuring a robust maintenance of greeneries is
essential to sustain the intended environmental
benets. Buildings’ owners should keep out
unwanted insects and animals [19].
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Figure4.6: An example of a “green” parking garage for a high-rise building in Miami, FL.
The design team employed vertical landscaping to improve environmental
performance and visual aesthetics. (Photograph by author)
2 The Tower and the City
Invariably, architects focus on individual
buildings rather than on their contextual
relationships [3, p. 43]. Ergo, this research
not only examines the tower itself but it also
analyzes its relationship with its larger urban
context. Indeed, the sustainable architecture of
tall buildings must aim to enrich the quality of
urban life and must benet their surroundings
through their presence while also deriving
benets from their context. Sustainable
skyscrapers should positively contribute to
city development by offering public spaces,
producing more energy than that they use,
producing food, and recycling graywater and
blackwater for their neighborhood, for example.
Mark Lavery advocates the idea of using
tall buildings as integral pieces of the larger
infrastructure [22, p. 94]. For instance, every
day, by 9.00 a.m., the average Chicagoan creates
25gallons of wastewater by showering, using
the toilet, washing hands, and brushing teeth.
By multiplying that for 10million people in
Chicagoland, we realize the excessive amount
of wastewater that sewer systems need to
handle and channel to centralized treatment
plants. Tall buildings can mitigate this problem
by incorporating mini-water treatment
facilities. In addition to reducing demand on
sewer systems and water plants, the recycled
water can be used for non-potable purposes,
such as for air-conditioning, irrigation, and
toilet ushing. Conventional skyscrapers
often tax the city infrastructure. However, the
model proposed by Mark Lavery makes tall
buildings major contributors to efcient and
less costly infrastructure.
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2.1 Transportation networks
Accommodating new high-rise developments
in urban cores could be challenging because
cities’ existing circulations are often maxed
out even when cities have applied trafc
mitigation measures such as congestion
pricing. Reecting on increased trafc
congestion, Keith Grifths explains that by the
time we reach the age of retirement, many will
have wasted three years of their lives traveling
to work [23]. Grifths further indicates that
that time is gone for good and there is no
way to recover it. In addition to wasting
time, automobile-oriented environments
increase air and water pollution, foster spatial
dispersion, and create a high demand for
parking spaces.
Therefore, the relationship between tall
buildings and mass transit is important
because mass transit provides a “greener”
or “cleaner” means of transport to a large
population of tall buildings; and, in turn,
tall buildings supply ridership, necessary
to sustain mass transit. Also, mass transit
eases parking requirements associated with
tall buildings. In his book The High Cost
of Free Parking, Donald Shoup argues that
parking requirements are excessive, and they
have harmful effects, including “increase
trafc congestion and carbon emissions,
pollute the air and water, encourage
sprawl, raise housing costs, degrade urban
design, reduce walkability, exclude poor
people, and damage the economy” [24,
p. 27]. Similarly, John Dorsett explains
that: “Reducing the number of vehicles on
roadways supports sustainability efforts,
and fewer cars downtown—and circling
looking for parking—also means less trafc
congestion” [25].
Therefore, we need full-blown plans that
explicitly spell out vertical density strategies
regarding mass transit. It is important to
locate tall buildings (major trip generators)
near mass-transit stations. Transit-oriented
development continues to gain popularity as
a promising tool for breaking the vicious cycle
of sprawl and car-dependence. Interestingly,
LEED’s latest rating system (Version 4) has
added a new major category of Transportation
and Location, emphasizing the transportation
dimension of sustainable development
Nonetheless, planners should not view mass
transit as a “panacea,” providing solutions
to all transport problems. Some cities face
transport challenges, even though they
integrated mass transit. Grifths explains this
problem in the context of cities of London
and Shanghai. He states: “Despite its charms,
London is an inconvenient city to live and
work in, requiring residents to spend much
of their time in transit, cutting into the
quality of life in an already very expensive
city” [23, p. 75]. In the case of Shanghai,
Grifths indicates: “Even with Shanghai’s
efcient subway system, it takes an average
of 1.5 hours to go to work. That’s three
hours a day, or 20 percent of the working
day, wasted on travel” [23, p. 76]. Therefore,
planners should carefully examine the impact
of introduced tall buildings on transportation
systems including mass-transit systems in
immediate, near, and far areas.
Planners also should weigh options of
increasing the capacity of mass transit. In
places where cultural values do not support
mass transit, plans should provide the
necessary elements to encourage people using
mass transit. This is increasingly important,
given the fact that many people gravitate to
car culture. While this problem prevails in
the United States, cities around the globe
are similarly embracing car culture—for
example, car ownership in Beijing has been
skyrocketing. The private automobile swiftly
prevails as the primary means of travel in
developing countries for it grants freedom of
mobility and reects social status [26].
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Some of the means to encourage people to use
mass transit include:
improving payment mechanism;
streamlining boarding process;
augmenting pedestrian and cycling
providing affordable fares;
enhancing the imageability of mass-
transit stations and the overall system;
granting employees nancial incentives
to use mass transit.
Contactless smart card systems (enabled by
Near Field Communication) offer convenience
and streamline passengers’ boarding process.
They allow passengers to wave their cards or
even whisk their wallet containing one over
the turnstile, saving the hassle of searching for
a fare or token, and hence avoiding delays and
crowd obstruction. Through unied networks,
these cards can give holders access to all forms
of transit in large metropolitan regions. People
may use them as a debit/credit cards and
recharge them online.
Cities such as London, Paris, and Hong
Kong have pioneered these contactless smart
card systems. In Hong Kong, people use
Octopus Card for everything from shopping
to travel on any train, bus, tram, metro, or
ferry 24/7. The Netherlands’ OV-Chipkaart,
London’s Oyster Card, and Mumbai’s Combo
Card feature similar functions. Furthermore,
educational and promotional programs, such
as TravelSmart in Australia, help to convert
residents to use bikes and mass transit
[7, 19, 26].
Some cities have set policies to rein private
cars and integrate land use with sustainable
multimodal transportation. For example,
since 1975, Singapore has charged drivers
for entering its downtown, and in 1988,
it integrated “an electronic toll system
that charges downtown drivers variable
rates throughout the day” [26, p. 41]. Also,
Singapore charges vehicle owners high taxes
and fees. However, its denizens enjoy a
comprehensive transit system that integrates
heavy rail, light rail, and buses, covering two-
thirds of all their travel on the island. As a
result, Singapore has low automobile use and
high transit use [26]. Recently, some cities,
such as Tianjin and Kunming in China, have
attempted to follow Singapore’s footsteps on
transportation planning and policy.
2.2 Greenest means of transport
To create sustainable urban mobility systems,
cities are playing an active role in planning
transit by improving biking and walking
networks—the greenest means of transport.
They are also enhancing the entire passenger
experience, recognizing that “transit trips
start long before riders board a vehicle. Every
transit trip starts and ends as a biking or
walking trip (even if just from a park-and-
ride lot),” as Cathleen Sullivan describes in
her article “How transitable is your city?”
[27, p. 68].
2.2.1 Walking
Overall, emphasis on walking prevails for
numerous reasons, namely health benets,
urban connectivity, social interaction,
environmental well-being, and energy saving.
Dan Burden, a “walkability” expert, makes a
good point when he pointed out:
Walkability is a word that did not exist just
20 years ago. We made walking so unnatural
that we had to invent a word to describe what
we were missing … Essentially, walkability
is allowing people to do what the human
body was designed to do in the rst place:
to go places without having to get into some
mechanical instrument [28].
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Walking is the simplest form of exercise;
people are pedestrians by design. In his
book Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save
America One Step at a Time, urbanist Jeff Speck
poetically explains the essentiality of walking
by stating: “As a sh needs to swim, a bird to
y, a deer to run, we need to walk, not in order
to survive, but to be happy” [29, p. 38]. Benets of walking
According to medical doctors, a daily walking
routine of 20minutes can prevent heart disease,
diabetes, depression, and some cancers.
Walking increases endorphin production and
neuron development, and it can lower blood
pressure, ease back pain, strengthen arms and
legs muscles, improve joint conditions and
balance, and reduce the risk of glaucoma and
In addition to health benets, walking can
promote city’s resilience and cultural heritage,
reduce crime, foster creative thinking, enhance
productivity, improve placemaking, and
increase land and property values [30]. Jeff
Speck argues that walkability is the key factor
to make cities thrive. He insists that sustainable
places should free us from dependence on the
automobile—which he calls “a gas-belching,
time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic
device” [30]. He lamented that suburban
sprawl is the worst urban planning model we
produced, characterized by “fattened roads,
emaciated sidewalks, deleted trees, fry-pit
drive-thrus, and 10-acre parking lots” [30].
Despite these problems associated with sprawl,
it has been proliferating throughout the world.
Speck’s research links obesity to neighborhood
walkability. “If you lived in a more walkable
neighborhood, you were 35 percent likely to
be overweight. If you lived in a less walkable
neighborhood, you were 60 percent likely
to be overweight” [30]. Indeed, people who
live in walkable neighborhoods were already
predisposed to be more active. Sadly, in North
America, fewer children are walking to schools
today (10% today versus 90% in the 1960s),
and more children are at risk of becoming
obese. In short, when our built environments
are designed to encourage 20-minute walking
daily (e.g., walking to the transit station,
grocery store, day care center, dry cleaner,
school, park), we will be healthier. Also, we will
be less dependent on the automobile, thereby
gaining environmental and economic benets.
Fortunately, recently, there has been a
signicant switch from suburban development
model to urban mixed-use TOD, also known as
Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs). In addition
to health and social benets, these places are
economically protable. According to the real
estate expert Lauren Shanesy:
Rental premiums for ofce, retail, and housing
in WalkUPs average 74 percent higher than
in drivable, suburban contexts. Furthermore,
the market share of WalkUPs has increased
signicantly in all 30 of the largest metro
regions in the U.S. in the recent real estate
cycle (2010–2015) [31].
Further, cities are repurposing their aging
infrastructure into attractive, walkable
areas. For example, the City of Chicago has
been transforming disused Chicago River’s
banks into prime public spaces, inviting
pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists. The city
is also transforming old railroad tracks into
walkable trails, such as “the Bloomingdale
Trail” or “The 606.” Earlier, the New York
City has transformed an abandoned elevated
railroad track into an attractive linear park,
known as “The High Line,” discussed in
section2.4.3. Walking programs
In addition to health and economic benets,
planners increasingly view walking as part
of the transport system’s overall resilience,
and as such, they have made serious efforts to
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encourage walking. For example, in London,
where distances are relatively short in its
central area, planners and city ofcials have
been encouraging denizens to walk to avoid
crowded mass-transit stations and lines.
In the United States, there have been numerous
educational programs that encourage walking,
warning that “sitting is the new smoking.” For
example, City Walk program offers a unique
series consisting of 30-minute episodes
through which participants explore pedestrian
life in cities including New York, Washington,
D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, and
Boston. As they walk in neighborhoods,
participants learn about the history of places,
architecture, art, as well as natural features
such as parks, mountains, and lakes [32].
Other cities, such as Seattle, are implementing
low-tide walks that invite participants to see
the watery world that is typically out of view.
Other walking programs in the United States
include Every Body Walk! (The Movement
to Get America Walking) and America Walks
(Making America a Great Place to Walk).
In the same vein, Canada has implemented
several walking programs. For example, “the
City Slickers circumnavigate Montreal on
foot in a series of six 25 km walks, done on
consecutive Saturdays at an average pace of
6km/hour: their own Tour de l’Île” [33]. Other
walking programs in Montreal include The
Montreal Urban Hikers and The Ramblers
Association (Les Randonneurs Associés) Rando
plein-air. Urban planners, program organizers,
and participants often promote these programs
via social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter,
Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.
Furthermore, Walk Score is an online program
that rates neighborhoods’ walkability in
America to help people locate their future
homes in “healthy” neighborhoods. What is
more, the Walking Revolution is a 30-minute
documentary lm that brings awareness
about the benets of walking to people
and communities. Similarly, the Walking
Classroom program integrates teaching with
walking by holding classrooms in outdoor
places within the school’s neighborhood and
by audio taping lectures and asking students
to listen to lectures while walking.
2.2.2 Biking
If walking is suitable for short-distance trips,
then biking is useful to connect people and
activities placed within middle-range distances
(Figure4.7). Urban planners view biking as a
viable transportation option that improves the
overall health of people and reduces carbon
footprint—major sustainable living goals.
As such, more cities are integrating bicycle
infrastructures. As more people discern
the health benets of bicycling, they are
increasingly attracted to live in neighborhoods
where bicycle infrastructure is in place.
In this regard, Jason Brody, A Kansas State
University planner explains: “Communities
that don’t become bicycle-friendly will lose
out because people will choose other places
to live and visit” [28]. Brody explains that
the public increasingly views cycling as an
essential transport means as opposed to
merely a leisure activity. He illustrates this
notion by stating: “While most baby boomers
and previous generations viewed bicycles
as inferior to vehicles, many millennials
and post-millennials see biking as hip and
progressive—an image with which they want
to identify” [34]. According to Brody, biking
provides myriad benets, including [34]:
improving urban connectivity;
decreasing trafc congestion;
decreasing the need for additional
driving lanes;
offering cost savings to citizens because
of purchasing less gas and having less
wear and tear on vehicles;
improving air quality;
572213.indd 156 28/05/18 6:25 PM
Page 157
fostering a positive image as a capable,
forward-thinking community;
enhancing local economy by increasing
visitor numbers for downtown businesses
that rely on local customers; and
improving public health.
The health benets of regular cycling include
increasing cardiovascular tness;
increasing muscle strength and exibility;
improving joint mobility;
decreasing stress levels;
improving posture and coordination;
strengthening bones;
decreasing body fat levels;
preventing or managing of disease; and
reducing anxiety and depression.
Interestingly, the bike valet has emerged
recently as an effective tool for stakeholders
looking to increase the use of bikes as a
primary mode of transportation, particularly
in dense areas. Valets allow cyclists to drop
off their bikes and have them parked in a
safe area, where they can retrieve when they
Similarly, bike sharing is an effective tool to
encourage biking. Dubbed B-cycle, Denver’s
system includes about 500 bicycles and 50
rental stations placed throughout dense,
transit-rich city neighborhoods, according to
Libby Kaiser, a planner in Denver [35].
Importantly, European cities’ experiences
inform that the sustained development of
bicycle infrastructure stems from active
planning, continuous investment, and
engaging grassroots organizations. These
serious efforts have made European cities,
such as Utrecht, Holland, and Copenhagen,
to increase their bicycle mode share “from the
single digits in the early 1970s to between 30
and 50 percent today,” according to Annick
Beaudet and Katherine Gregor [36, p. 17].
Indeed, it takes time for a bicycle network to
grow and mature; therefore, it is important to
make incremental improvements and retrots
[36]. American cities, such as Austin, TX, are
trying to apply European’s experience in
promoting biking in their cities. Overall, there
is a need to balance and make context-sensitive
trade-offs among all modes of transports on
issues of comfort, efciency, convenience,
safety, and costs.
2.2.3 Creating walkable and bikeable
environments: recommendations
To encourage safe walking and biking in
urban areas, researchers provide a set of
recommendation summarized in Table 4.4.
These recommendations are important since
motor vehicle accidents result in killing more
than 270,000 people yearly, according to the
World Health Organization.
On the US streets, motor vehicles cause the
death of more than 4,500 pedestrians and the
injury of another 68,000 walkers on average
yearly. Meanwhile, more than 700 bicyclists
die in trafc crashes in the United States
each year, and more than 45,000 are injured
[37, 38].
In predominantly pedestrian areas, Nooshin
Tezangi1 gives additional recommendations
explaining that automobile speed should not
exceed 25–30 miles per hour; the distance
between intersections should not be longer
than 300–400ft; and the widest street should
have no more than two travel lanes between
curbs [39, p. 199]. He further indicates:
“People are three times more likely to walk
along landscaped pedestrian routes. Mature
tree cover can further encourage daily
outdoor activity by cooling outdoor summer
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Figure4.7: Located near CTA’s (Chicago Transit Authority’s) mass-transit station,
this biking station offers a “green” mode of transport to travel through
the spacious campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) (top).
Walking and biking networks in Arlington, VA, support mass transit
(bottom). (Photograph by author)
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Page 159
Table4.4: Recommendations to make streets safer for walking and cycling [37, 38]
Recommendation Details
Reduce the width of travel lanes Wide lanes send an unmistakable message to drivers
to speed up.
Make crosswalks and bike lanes
more visible Elevate them above street grade (known as speed tables), or
mark them with bright, wide swaths of paint.
Separate bike lanes on busy streets New York and Washington, D.C. are among the leaders in
creating protected bike lanes, and both saw bike commuting
double in a short period. Protected bike lanes also create more
comfortable, enjoyable trips for pedestrians.
Shorten crosswalks A shorter trip across an intersection is a safer one. This is
done most commonly by extending the sidewalk out into the
intersection (known as a curb extension or bulb-out).
Pay close attention to road designs
at bus stops Pedestrians often rush across the street to catch their bus, not
paying attention to oncoming trafc.
Create pedestrian streets, bridges,
and underpasses In busy areas where other measures are not feasible to
minimize conict with trafc and enhance the convenience of
Add raised median islands in the
middle of busy streets As a refuge for crossing pedestrians. This has been shown to
reduce trafc accidents by 56%.
Give pedestrians and bicyclists
a head start at trafc lights Five seconds will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to enter the
intersection rst and be more visible to motorists. Lining up
waiting cars a few feet back from the intersection can also be
Ban right on red turns at busy inter-
sections Drivers, busy watching out for other cars, often do not see
pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the street on green lights.
Keep the turning radius 90 degrees at
intersections Rounded street corners tempt drivers to turn without stopping
or looking for walkers and bikers.
Install trafc circles Roundabouts, speed humps, raised crosswalks, bike lanes, and
other trafc-calming devices, which help motorists drive safely
and be more aware of pedestrians and bicyclists.
Convert one-way streets to two-way To encourage safer, slower driving.
Reduce the number of travel lanes
on wide streets wherever possible Downsizing four-lane suburban and urban streets to two travel
lanes with an alternating turn lane in the middle has become
a popular trend across the country. Not only does this create
safer streets, but it also lessens noise for residents and creates
an opportunity to add sidewalks, bike lanes, and landscaping.
(This is known as a road diet, lane reduction, or 2+1 road.)
Pay close attention to road designs
at bus stops Pedestrians often rush across the street to catch a bus, not
paying attention to oncoming trafc.
Install red-light cameras and other
means of photo enforcement It is expensive to station a police car at every unsafe
intersection, but technology can capture lawbreakers at a
fraction of the cost. Washington, D.C. now uses cameras to
detect and ne drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way to
pedestrians as well as those who speed or run red lights.
Establish Safe Routes to Schools
campaigns Which bring educators, parents, neighbors, and kids together
to nd safe, satisfying ways for students to walk and bike to
Set up training programs About pedestrian safety for trafc engineers, transportation
planners, police, city ofcials, citizens, and children.
Strictly enforce laws Against speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, drunk
driving, and reckless driving. Injuring or killing people with a
car is no less tragic than doing it with a gun.
Put pedestrians rst Every city should have a by-law of one sentence stating:
“In this city, pedestrians come rst. Everyone is a pedestrian
at some point during the day, even if you are merely walking
from your parking space.”
572213.indd 159 28/05/18 6:25 PM
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temperatures between ve and ten degrees
Fahrenheit” [39, p. 199]. Pedestrian furniture
and street lights are also important for
conveying a sociable and safe environment.
Walkable spaces should be inclusive and
easily accessible for people of all income levels
and physical conditions.
Also, pathways to and from transit stations
should be well lit, clearly marked, and have
good surveillance. Parking facilities on and
near the stations should maximize natural
surveillance and have effective lighting and
enforcement practices. Natural surveillance
occurs by placing physical features and people
activities in such a way as to maximize visibility
and foster positive social interaction. The police
should develop effective patrol strategies
during “unsafe” times and areas near the
stations. Further, recent research suggests that
smartphone apps in conjunction with online
scheduling tools have made public transit easier
to navigate and use, and have encouraged the
use of bike sharing and car sharing [27].
2.3 TB-TOD model
The traditional CBD arose at the end of the
19th century enabled accommodating a large
concentration of urban activities within a
walkable distance. “A typical CBD would cover
approximately 20 minutes’ walking distance
in all directions from a main transportation
center, such as a railway station or ferry pier,”
according to Tim Blackburn [40, p. 41]. As cities
have been expanding, the traditional CBD has
also expanded, and cities have created new
urban cores. In the same vein, as cities increase
their populations and expand geographically,
the multiple-center notion will proliferate
further. Importantly, the function and image of
the CBDs have been lately transforming from
weekday-business districts to 24/7mixed-use,
“live-work-shop-play” environments.
Blackburn emphasizes that for urban centers
to thrive, we need to connect them well with
multiple transportation means. He details this
notion by explaining:
A combination of several factors, including
sound planning principles enabling greater
densication above major transportation
nodes and investment in mass transit
infrastructure, has been the catalyst for the
creation of new core business districts—
away from the traditional city center, but still
fundamentally designed to take advantage of
the efciencies of density and access to efcient
mass transportation networks [40, p. 41].
Therefore, growing cities and metro areas
want to create urban hubs characterized by
being walkable, mixed-use, mixed-scale, high-
density, and transit-oriented developments
that offer affordable housing and shopping
alternatives and appeal to inuxes of
young workers. The tall building typology
is increasingly important in these urban
hubs, and this research refers to this urban
development model as TB-TOD. It denes it
as a vertical mixed-use development centered
on mass-transit nodes, and it argues that it is
one of the sustainable options for large cities
going forward.
Among the key factors that promote the
TB-TOD model are (see Chapters 17, 18,
and 19) [6]:
boosting ridership;
compensating for costly land;
fostering agglomeration;
facilitating regional connectivity;
accommodating suburban growth ef-
ciently; and
supporting placemaking.
Indeed, there is a mutually supportive
relationship between tall buildings and
mass transit, particularly rail, given that tall
buildings can supply the ridership density
572213.indd 160 28/05/18 6:25 PM
Page 161
that is needed to sustain mass-transit
systems, while mass transit provides a
“clean” means of transporting large numbers
of people. Sustainable development and
vibrant community life are only possible with
robust commercial activities. By augmenting
tall buildings and transit with mixed-use
activities, a commercial/transport synergy
can occur, with passengers owing to and
from stations to create a clientele of mixed-
used functions.
Searching for and providing the right mix
of functions is important to create vibrant
environments with the sustained use of the
public realm for longer periods, improving
security and justifying investment in amenities.
Also, a thoughtful and well-balanced mixed-
use scheme can signicantly enhance
infrastructure efciency by “attening out the
peaks of demand on utilities such as water,
gas, and power” [16, p. 94]. Furthermore, the
TB-TOD reduces dependence on the private
automobile, decreases the need to supply
parking spaces, improves air quality, and
reduces the time and associated cost.
2.3.1 The evolution of the TB-TOD model
Researchers have traced the evolution of
the TB-TOD model to early skyscraper
developments, including Terminal Tower
(1928) in Cleveland, OH, and Chrysler
Building (1930) in NYC. Becoming the tallest
building outside NYC, the 216 m Terminal
Tower offered ofce and hotel spaces as well
as an extensive mixed-use urban ensemble
(e.g., department store, restaurants, banks,
smaller ofce wings), all connected seamlessly
to a major transit terminal that provides a
direct link to the city and beyond.
Similarly, the Chrysler Building featured “an
underground tunnel connected to both Grand
Central Terminal and the city subway system
as well as with numerous hotels, ofces,
retail shops, and even an observation deck
on the 71st oor” [41, p. 23]. The functionality
of these developments continues until
present days. Importantly, they represented
“an emerging sense that a skyscraper was
part of an interlocking development,” and
their components (tall, transit, and mixed-
use) continue to be essentials of successful
skyscrapers today [41, p. 23].
2.3.2 The TB-TOD model: modern
Since the 1980s, Hong Kong has developed
several examples of the TB-TOD model,
including Hong Kong Central, Pacic Place,
Taikoo Place, and Union Station development.
Hong Kong’s Central features a cluster of tall
buildings with support services, restaurants,
and institutions, all connected with the city
via Hong Kong Station/Airport Express rail
link, the MW railway network, and pedestrian
footbridges. Similarly, Pacic Place assembled
ofce and hotel towers and a retail mall linked
through a series of under—and above-ground
pedestrian walkways and Admiralty MTR
(Mass Transit Railway) station [42].
Taikoo Place now represents the most
sophisticated and integrated iteration of
the planned development, comprising
ten interconnected towers containing
557,000 square meters of prime commercial
space for over 300 national and mufti-national
corporations, which is an endorsement of the
location as well as its surrounding amenities
[42, p. 42].
The development has direct access to two MTR
stations at Quarry Bay and Taikoo, regular
bus services, and the popular double-decker
Hong Kong tram, as well as the Island Eastern
Corridor highway and Eastern Harbour
Crossing tunnel.
Taikoo Place’s buildings attained highest
standards of sustainability—two new Grade
“AAA” ofce towers are targeting LEED
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Platinum ratings, and eight existing towers
have already been awarded an “Excellent”
rating by the BEAM (Building Environmental
Assessment Method). These high-end buildings
coupled with excellent management have
rewarded the development with strong demand
and vacancy rate as low as 1% [40, p. 42].
Recently, the TB-TOD model has received a
global appeal. In his writing, George Binder
explains: “Many of the tallest buildings
now under construction are centerpieces
of vast, fully-integrated master plans, with
transportation considerations playing a
major role in allowing people to conveniently
access the site through multimodal means”
[41, p. 19]. We see prominent examples in the
United States (e.g., Brickell City Center, the
redevelopment of WTC, and Hudson Yards)
and in China (Wuhan Tiandi Site A, the KK100,
Ping An Finance Center, the Guangzhou CTF
Finance Centre, and Rafes City) as follows. Brickell city center
Located in the heart of the nancial district
of Miami, FL, Brickell City Center (BCC) will
include 5million ft2 (464,515m2) of combined
retail, two luxury residential towers, two
ofce buildings, and a four-star hotel. Placed
on a 9-acre (3.6-hectare) site, it will offer a
live-work-shop-play destination featuring a
wide range of mixed-use services, activities,
and amenities all connected by a nearby
major highway (I-95) and Metromover light
rail station. Run by Miami-Dade Transit,
Metromover is a free, elevated, automated,
electric metro that operates on a 4.4-mile
(7km) loop, serving downtown and providing
a direct link to the Metrorail, the regional
rapid-transit system (Figure4.8). The BCC also
incorporates underground parking garages
with 1,600 spaces. This is difcult, given
Miami’s challenging geological conditions
and high water table. The parking garage uses
Figure4.8: Brickell City Center (BCC) in Miami, FL. Placed on a 9-acre (3.6-hectare)
site, it will offer a live-work-shop-play destination featuring a wide range of
mixed-use services, activities, and amenities all connected by a nearby major
highway (I-95) and Metromover light rail station. The BCC will bring about
a large-scale sustainable urban development that strives to earn the LEED
Gold certication. (Photograph by author)
572213.indd 162 28/05/18 6:25 PM
Page 163
a smart parking management technology,
allowing drivers to identify available parking
spaces with ease.
One of the distinctive features of the project
is a “Climate Ribbon,” which is a 150,000ft2
(14,000m2) undulating canopy of steel, fabric,
and glass that ties the structures together and
improves microclimate and environmental
conditions. The “Climate Ribbon” harnesses
Miami’s Caribbean breezes while deecting
the sun to create a comfortable open-air
shopping environment. The ribbon will
collect rainwater, about three million gallons
a year, which will drain into cisterns and
used for irrigation. Overall, the BCC will
bring about a large-scale sustainable urban
development that seeks to earn the LEED Gold
certication [43]. WTC complex
The redevelopment of the WTC site offers a
useful case of integrating tall buildings with
mass transit. The 16-acre site comprises ve
skyscrapers that center on a Transportation
Hub, thereby providing a “green” transport
to the complex and Lower Manhattan at large.
Over half of the site functions as a public,
open, and recreational space and the complex
incorporates state-of-the-art green features.
For example, hydrogen fuel cells power
1WTC and waste heat output from this fuel
cell system is recycled and used for hot water
and heating.
1 WTC features 100% renewable energy
sourcing and rainwater collection for cooling
tower’s replenishment. Air conditioning
is supplied, also, by a highly efcient CCP
(Central Chiller Plant) that uses water from
the Hudson River to cool not only the tower
but also the WTC Transportation Hub, the
National September 11 Memorial and Museum,
retail spaces, and some non-commercial areas.
A graywater system collects the annual 1.2m
(4 ft) of New York City rainwater that falls
on the site to cool the building, irrigating the
landscape and re protection system.
Also, the building integrates low-ow
plumbing xtures to reduce water consumption
and incorporates individual electrical-supply
meters as well as automatic dimming devices
to reduce energy consumption. The WTC
buildings use recycled materials and wood
products certied by the Forest Stewardship
Council. No building materials in the entire
complex contain either VOCs (volatile organic
compounds) or chemicals that leach in a
gaseous form [4].
Interestingly, the architectural form of the
Transportation Hub resembles that of a bird,
a symbol of freedom that echoes the spirit of
the “Freedom Tower,” a colloquial name of
1WTC (Figure4.9). As a result, an inspiring
spatial dialogue occurs by juxtapositioning
the Freedom Tower and the bird-resembling
Transportation Hub. Further, the various
activities of the complex ensure a steady ow
of people that energizes the site and enhances
placemaking. The complex seeks LEED
certication. The Hudson yards development
The Hudson Yards development represents a
futuristic application of the TB-TOD model.
The 28-acre (11.3 hectares) site will offer an
18 million ft2 (1,672,255 m2) of mixed-use,
vertical development (e.g., residential, ofce,
hotel, retail, entertainment) that will be highly
connected to the rest of the city by ways of the
much-celebrated High Line, and subway stop
(Figure 4.10). The development will contain
4,000 residences, 100 retail shops, a 750-seat
school, luxury hotels, a cultural center,
interactive public art installments, and ample
green space.
As the largest private real estate development in
the history of the United States, this monumental
project is a display of the countries’ engineering
572213.indd 163 28/05/18 6:25 PM
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Figure4.9: The redevelopment of the World Trade Center in NYC offers an example
of the sustainable TB-TOD model, where the iconic Transportation Hub
serves the complex’s ve commercial ofce skyscrapers, the adjacent
residential and ofce towers, as well as vital retail and vibrant public spaces.
(Photograph by author)
Figure4.10: The Hudson Yards development in NYC. As the largest private
real estate development in the history of the United States, this
monumental project features a robust mixed-use scheme of residential,
ofce, and retail spaces that are well connected to mass transit and
pedestrian networks
572213.indd 164 28/05/18 6:26 PM
Page 165
advancement since it builds skyscrapers
above the still-active Hudson Rail Yards. The
site began the rst phase of construction in
December of 2012 above the Eastern portion of
the Hudson Rail Yard, where the retail, ofce,
and commercial buildings will stand, along
with open and public spaces. Developers
intend to complete the west side of the yard in
2024. Altogether, the Hudson Yards will add
16 stunning skyscrapers to NYC skyline. As
this development is unprecedented in scale,
technology, and engineering, New Yorkers are
anxiously awaiting to see the “new heart” of
their city [44]. Canary warf
David Nicholson-Cole illustrates integrating
tall buildings with mass transit in the City of
London, UK. He explains: “To cope with the
pressures of dynamic mass-transit systems and
rising land values, urban citizens must grow
accustomed to living—as well as working—in
high-rise developments, clustered around key
transport nodes” [45]. As such, London has
embraced a policy of clustering tall buildings
around key rail stations, creating mixed-use
“spatial magnets” [39]. Indeed, London’s
neighborhoods have been attempting to
create social life and vibrancy, particularly
after ofce hours and during weekends, by
integrating residential developments, retails,
amenities, services, and transit centers.
Also, London applies the “tall and transit”
policy in revitalizing Canary Warf, well
manifested in the Crossrail Station, under
construction. Containing retail space and
surrounded by greenery, the six-story station
will improve connectivity and accessibility
not only with the rest of London but also to
the United Kingdom at large. Towers under
consideration for the site include the Baltimore
Tower, Wood Wharf, Columbus Tower, and
the Riverside South development.
Remarkably, large-scale developments in
China are following the TB-TOD urban
design model. In his article “City hubs,” Keith
Grifths explains: “China will lead the world
in building ultra-high-density, connected, and
vibrant hubs within its cities, accommodating
our new needs by providing public spaces
at many levels and infusing the outdated
concepts of high-rise towns into new vertical
cities” [23, p. 75]. Similarly, Albert Chan
echoes this urban design approach in his
article “Fusing history and height in modern
China,” by stating:
… we believe mixed uses make the area more
vibrant. We always try to create pedestrian,
transit-based environments, not car-based.
When people arrive in a place on foot and
walk the streets, the place is alive. When they
drive their cars into the basement, there is no
one on the street [46, p. 48].
He further explains that it is important
to design small blocks and a dense street
network to achieve walkability. Overall,
the TB-TOD urban design model resounds
through new large projects in China as
follows. Wuhan tiandi site A
Wuhan Tiandi Site A sets a new standard
for sustainable urban redevelopment.
Located in the Wuhan’s CBD, Wuhan Tiandi
Site A project aims to create a mixed-use,
pedestrian-friendly, compact, sustainable,
transit-oriented community. Iconic towers
of varying heights stimulate visual interest
and take advantage of the attractive views
of the nearby Yangzi River. At the ground
level, public spaces, amenities, and lush
landscaping will create vibrant and attractive
pedestrian environment. Overall, the project
will transform an underutilized dilapidated
neighborhood into a modern community.
“The Wuhan Tiandi complex offers a high
quality of life for those that live, work,
and visit—a quality of life that rivals long
established tall building neighborhoods
found elsewhere in the world” [41].
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166 Page KK100
To reduce sprawl and facilitate more sustainable
development for the fast-growing Shenzhen,
China, KK100 offers a vertical mixed-use
complex, which is well-served by the nearby
major transit hub. Placed at the southwest
corner of the site, the 442 m (1,449 ft) tower
enjoys views of the neighboring Lizhi Park and
the city at large. The tower has an intriguing
curving form that was “intended to allude to
a fountain of water, symbolizing the wealth
and prosperity of the city of Shenzhen” [46, 47].
The wide, curved north and south facades are
oriented to Hong Kong and the Maipo marshes,
while the narrow east and west facades
face the less desirable morning and evening
sun. In addition to proper orientation, the
building employs high-performance facades
that integrate horizontal and vertical ns to
reduce glare and solar gain, increasing tenants’
comfort. At the base, the master plan placed
retails and services in correspondence to the
site’s foot trafc. The entrance has an inviting
curvilinear canopy that “funnels” tenants and
visitors into the building. “Overall, the complex
hopes to reduce demands on infrastructure
by providing a place where people can work
and live, eliminating needs for transit between
these uses” [46, p. 48]. Ping an nance center
Similarly, located in Shenzhen’s Futian
District, Ping An Finance Center represents a
new generation of the TB-TOD, characterized
by being ultra-tall, ultra-dense, and hyper-
connected. The building rises from a prominent
location, connecting seamlessly to neighboring
commercial and residential properties, as well as
the Pearl River Delta’s high-speed rail corridor.
Soaring 599 m (1,965 ft) over Shenzhen, the
tower symbolizes the rapid growth of the city
from a small village to a major metropolitan
city, creating a major landmark. Near the top,
facades taper to form a pyramid, giving the
tower a prismatic aesthetic that enhances the
way the tower touches the sky [46]. Guangzhou CTF nance centre
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre in
Guangzhou represents one of the recently
completed TB-TOD models. It is a mixed-
use tower located near a subterranean retail
concourse with transportation interchanges,
connecting this large development with the
city and the wider region. Rising to 530 m
(1,739 ft), the tower became the city’s tallest
building when was completed in 2016. It also
enjoys proximity to a large park and the 437m
(1,439ft) tall Guangzhou International Finance
Center, the city’s second tallest building.
Interestingly, Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre
integrates four step-backs to indicate functional
transitions: ofce to residential, residential to
the hotel, hotel to the crown, and crown to the
sky. These four step-backs feature roof gardens
and dramatic skylights [46, 47]. Rafes city
A similar TB-TOD project (under construction)
is the Rafes City in Chongqing. It is a
comprehensive mixed-use, 1,100,000-m2
(11,840,301-ft2) development that holds luxury
residential, high-end serviced apartments,
ofces, hotel, retail, and substantial public
space programs. The development integrates
a transportation hub and eight towers—six
250m (820ft) towers and two 350m (1,149ft)
towers—and skywalks. Given its large
scale and distinctive architectural style, the
Rafes City will become a major landmark in
Chongqing [48]. Chow Tai Fook (CTF) binhai center
Situated in the newly developed TEDA (Tianjin
Economic-Technological Development Area)
in Tianjin’s Binhai New Town, the 97-story
CTF tower will spatially anchor a major hub of
institutional, commercial, and retail buildings
embedded in a dense, walkable urban grid
with robust transit connections. With a total
gross oor area of 389,900m2 (4,196,849ft2), this
572213.indd 166 28/05/18 6:26 PM
Page 167
mixed-use tower will offer residential, hotel,
ofce, retail, and recreational spaces that are
connected to a metro station that serves the
Beijing Tianjin high-speed-rail line. Nearing
completion, the iconic 530m (1,739ft) tower
impressively demonstrates the integration of
facilities, form, and structure [49].
The CTBUH’s Skyscraper Center describes
this project with thoughtful details as follows:
The softly curving glass skin integrates eight
sloping mega-columns that follow a lyrical
line connecting the centers and corners of
all four elevations. … The facade reinforces
the curvature of the tower form and creates
a shimmering texture over the building’s
surface. The crystalline-like curtain wall
stretches from the suspended glass canopies
at each of the lobbies to the dematerialized,
mega-column-looped crown and presents
a bold expression of a comprehensive,
integrated design on the Tianjin skyline [50].
The tower seeks to achieve a LEED Gold
2.3.3 Placemaking
Mass-transit stations are often architecturally
unattractive and in some cases unsafe. Recent
work has been addressing these issues by
making stations roomier, well lit (mainly with
natural light), and aesthetically more pleasing.
Each TB-TOD node, nonetheless, should
develop unique perceptual characteristics
or architectural styles to promote a distinct
identity. For example, Union Square in
Hong Kong has clustered distinct high-rises,
including ICC—the city’s tallest building—
within a small area of about 30 acres (12
hectares). Internally, the iconic transit
station gives Union Square a unique identity
(Figure 4.11). Similarly, in Dubai, planners
have clustered the world’s tallest building
(Burj Khalifa), world’s biggest mall, and
Figure4.11: Union Square in Hong Kong. The iconic transit station gives this
development a strong identity. (Photograph by author)
572213.indd 167 28/05/18 6:26 PM
168 Page
largest “dancing” fountain to give this section
of Dubai’s downtown a special character
(see Chapter18).
In a suburban context, within the R–B corridor
of metropolitan Washington, D.C., each transit
node has developed a distinct character of
either an ofce and business center, government
and civic center, residential and educational
hub, or a new downtown. Similarly, Tysons
Corner in Washington, D.C. plans to create a
distinct “personality” for each transit node,
including an entertainment and performing
arts district, a commercial and business zone,
and a mixed-use residential neighborhood, all
with the intention of promoting placemaking
(Figure4.12) (see Chapter19).
2.4 Social infrastructure
“Skyscrapers have always been about power,
but they should also be about society. As our
global society increasingly becomes an urban
one, development of skyscrapers should be
taking a new critical direction,” according
to Winy Maas, Co-Founding Director of
MVRDV, a global architectural and planning
rm situated in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
[51, p. 20]. That is, “sustainable” towers
should integrate well with the social fabric of
their cities by making amenities (such as sky
gardens, shops, restaurants, day-care centers,
and art galleries) accessible to the public.
These amenities and services should offer
social opportunities for the tower’s residents
to interact with the rest of the community.
In so doing, we create a sense of community
that centers on the public amenity and “dispel
the notion that the building is devoted to
a privileged few,” as Rafael Viñoly and
colleagues explain [52]. Cheong Koon Hean
captures this notion by stating:
Livability is about building communities
and encouraging interaction among people.
Figure4.12: Rosslyn, VA. Urban design scheme and architectural style give
this suburban community unique perceptual characteristics,
highlighting it as a major business hub. (Photograph by author)
572213.indd 168 28/05/18 6:26 PM
Page 169
You have to create places that bring people
together as a community. Public spaces and
placemaking become critical if a city is to be
livable. At a project level, creative design can
encourage interaction and the building of
bonds between neighbors [53, p. 7].
In her recent article “Three points of the
residential high-rise: designing for social
connectivity,” Jeanne Gang explores the idea of
outdoor living in high-rise environments [54].
She proposes “exo-spatial” buildings that aim
to be socially vibrant on their entire exterior
surfaces by treating architectural elements
such as balconies, terraces, and roof gardens
as a front porch or a backyard-social space
that may occur in low-rise environments.
She illustrates the physical manifestation of
the “exo-spatial” concept in the designs of
Aqua Tower and City Hyde Park in Chicago,
where she arranged balconies and terraces in
creative manners, so they become conducive
to informal social interaction (Figure4.13).
2.4.1 Sky parks
As our cities become denser and host taller
buildings, it is important to offer quality
public spaces in upper oors while making
Figure4.13: City Hyde Park in Chicago by Studio Gang. “The exo-spatial design
on the south facade is developed through vertically stacked, alternating
concrete panels that are then offset from the central axis to form columns,
bays, balconies, and sun-shades. They create a visually exciting exterior
that offers multiple opportunities for residents to socialize outdoors and
connect with the surrounding city” [54, p. 119]
572213.indd 169 28/05/18 6:26 PM
170 Page
them publicly accessible and enriching
them with socio-cultural programs. The
implementation of communal spaces (e.g., sky
parks, sky gardens, sky terraces, sky galleries)
aims to extend the lively socio-economic and
cultural activities that typically occur at the
ground level of the city to upper oors of tall
buildings [52]. Rafael Viñoly and colleagues
emphasize that making amenities, sky parks,
and roof gardens available to the public is
an important feature of a sustainable city
because “the experience of going to the top
of a tall structure has always been a natural
human desire. People wish to be able to point
out landmarks, where they live or work”
[52, p. 285].
However, fewer tall buildings provide public
access. “This is illustrated by the fact that, when
access is granted once a year to a building like
30 St Mary Axe, people are prepared to queue
for hours to get that experience” [52, p. 285].
Tower 42 has a champagne/wine bar on the
42nd oor and a restaurant on the 24th oor
that are accessible only if visitors purchase a
drink or a meal. Initially, architects intended
to make access to the 20 Fenchurch Street’s
Sky Garden (also known as “Walkie Talkie”
building) to be free of charge and accessible
to all. However, the building management
limited access to only those who can pay the
entrance fee.
Interestingly, the recently completed Shanghai
Tower incorporates nine communal sky
gardens that support the social need of each
“vertical neighborhood,” within the tower, and
invite the public at large, giving opportunities
for social interaction between the tower’s
tenants and visitors and simulating real
experience of social life that takes place on the
city’s ground oor. In addition to improving
social life, visitors economically support
tower’s activities by using restaurants, cafes,
shopping stores, and recreational facilities.
Remarkably, The Shard in London integrates
a mid-level restaurant and bar oors where
the public is welcome to enjoy spectacular
views of the city without the obligation to
purchase refreshments. The top oor Viewing
Gallery, however, is accessible only through
paid ticketing, according to Stephan Reinke
[55, p. 247].
Notably, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore offers
a new type of public space. At 200-m (656-ft)
height, a 3-acre SkyPark spans across the top of
three towers and cantilevers 65m (218ft) at one
end. In addition to offering spectacular views
of the city, the 340m (1,116ft)-long SkyPark
accommodates a wide range of amenities
and services, including public observatory,
garden spaces, a 150m (495 ft)-long innity
swimming pool (largest outdoor swimming
pool), restaurants, and jogging paths [56]. The
SkyPark brings together a concentration of
recreational spaces that are hard to nd on the
ground oor of a dense city such as Singapore,
thereby “elevating” the Garden City concept
into the sky.
Remarkably, new public housing projects in
Singapore integrate communal sky parks,
sky terraces, and sky gardens. For example,
architects and planners conceived Pinnacle@
Duxton, SkyTerrace@Dawson, and SkyVille@
Dawson as “Housing in a Park” and
“Waterway Terraces.” Certainly, SkyVille@
Dawson features a tiered network of vegetated
sky terraces—integrated throughout the
entire height of towers—that offer spaces
for informal interactions for twelve 80-home
separate communities, or Sky Villages. The
spatial arrangement of these communal spaces
fosters informal interactions, allowing the
complex’s 960 families to engage into informal
chatting while watching their children playing
in the gardens, for example.
A public rooftop park, called “Penthouse
for the People,” integrates a 400m (1,312 ft)
jogging track, viewing galleries, landscaping
elements, and spacious seating areas conducive
for outdoor gatherings. Indeed, spacious,
exible apartment layouts with proper
solar orientation and natural ventilation are
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essential to design for sustainable living.
Equally important is offering expansive public
spaces on the ground oor and upper oors
to facilitate inviting communal environments
and healthy social life. Communal spaces also
improve the sense of security by supporting
“eyes on the street” urban theory. Overall,
these projects show that public housing towers
can incorporate a high level of amenities and
services that nurture sustainable communal
living [56].
2.4.2 “Ground” parks Neighborhood parks
Neighborhood parks are essential to increase
“communal” physical activity that leads to
health improvements and strengthening
emotional bonds with members of the larg-
er community. Figure 4.14 shows a park in
the Lakeshore East Development, Chicago,
IL. The award-winning 6-acre park offers a
peaceful respite, play area for children, and a
gathering space for a cluster of over ten tall
buildings. Similarly, One Shenzhen Bay in
Shenzhen, China, features an assemblage of
public and semi-private outdoor spaces, com-
prising gardens, water-landscaping elements,
growing trees, shaded canopies, amenities,
and organically shaped seating areas.
Likewise, d’Leedon in Singapore offers its
residents an “urban oasis” with a unique
landscaping scheme. Designed by Zaha Hadid
Architects, outdoor spaces tie together seven
35/36-story residential towers and 12 semi-
detached villas, totaling 200,000 square
meters. Outdoor spaces include lush
Figure4.14: Lakeshore East Development in Chicago, IL. The award-winning
6-acre park offers a peaceful respite, play area for children, and a
gathering space for a cluster of over ten high-rise buildings.
(Photograph by author)
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vegetation, water landscaping elements,
green elds, private gardens, plazas, and
athletics facilities. Further, Wuhan Tiandi Site
A in Wuhan, China, offers an inspiring design
scheme where mixed-use functions of shop-
houses, retail stores, and restaurants center
around an intimate patchwork of small parks.
Notably, Wuhan Tiandi Site A received the
2016 CTBUH Urban Habitat Award. Overall,
these projects signify the socio-cultural and
environmental roles of neighborhood parks. City parks
At the city scale, spacious parks are also vital.
Parks are not simply an amenity; they are
outdoor living rooms for the public, including
residents and tourists. For example, with
130 million visits a year, New York City’s
parks are both valued tourist attractions
and important to making the city a livable,
sustainable urban place, according to Scott
Dvorak [57]. Importantly, large open spaces
balance the inhuman scale established by
skyscrapers (Figure4.15).
Upon reviewing Alexander Garvin’s book
What Makes a Great City, Herold Henderson
summarizes the following key ingredients of
a “successful” open space [58]:
opens to anybody, easy to identify, easy
to access, safe, and comfortable;
offers something for everybody and is
not dedicated to a single purpose;
attracts and retains market demand,
requiring the government to be an active
provides a framework for successful
urbanization by allowing visitors to
orient themselves;
sustains a habitable environment by
being livable, remediating when not, and
remaining resilient to changes in levels of
use, climate, or economic conditions; and
nurtures and supports a civil society with
legal and moral incentives to respect the
rights of other users.
From an urban design point of view,
skyscrapers could work as a spectacular
backdrop to parks and open spaces. The
recently completed Maggie Daley Park
in Chicago offers an illustrative example.
Its organic design, accentuated by heavy
vegetation and contoured hills, creates a
splendid contrast with the steel, concrete,
and glass of the surrounding skyscrapers
(Figure 4.16). Further, the provision of
parks, vegetated areas, lush landscaping in
conjunction with effective shading and natural
ventilation can reduce heat island effects—an
important issue in dense urban areas and
warmer climate cities. Mark Lavery brings
the example of integrating these landscaping
elements in the case of the KAFD (King
Abdullah Financial District) master plan by
Henning Larsen and BuroHappold. The plan
facilitates “air movement and shade through
the urban network with the result of reducing
the ambient temperature by up to 8°C during
Riyadh’s summer months, compared to the
adjacent city center zone” [22, p. 96].
2.4.3 Elevated linear parks
While “conventional” parks are healthy
features of a city, they often function as single-
destination places, decreasing the likelihood
of visiting them. In contrast, linear parks
integrate throughout the city, weaving nature
into the city in a harmonious manner [59].
That is, linear parks connect people with
nature while traveling on foot or biking,
supporting a healthier and more “sustainable”
transport. Diana Balmori in her 2010 book
A Landscape Manifesto explains that linear
parks give new meanings and functions to
cities. They “are dynamic rather than static;
they are not peaceful retreats but ways” [60]. In
recent years, repurposing older infrastructure
(e.g., railways) into linear parks has been
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Figure4.15: Grant Park in Chicago, IL. Large open spaces balance the inhuman
scale established by skyscrapers. The buffer space between Lake
Michigan and skyscrapers creates a smooth transition between the
horizontal and vertical planes and enhances the spatial arrangement of
the city. Skyscrapers dene the open space of the Grant Park.
(Photograph by author)
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Figure4.16: Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, IL. The organic design of the park, accentuated
by heavy vegetation and contoured hills, creates a splendid contrast with
the steel, concrete, and glass of the surrounding skyscrapers.
(Photograph by author)
prevailing, thereby turning some ugliest parts
of a city into attractive places. The High Line
in NYC is an exemplary project. The high line
The High Line in NYC provides an inspiring
case of repurposing abandoned infrastructure
into a pedestrian realm. A formerly disused 1.5-
mile stretch of elevated railway was converted
into a linear urban park that connects multiple
neighborhoods. Since its opening in 2009, it
has stimulated urban development, economic
growth, and tourism (Figure 4.17). The
Promenade Plantée, an elevated linear park
built on a former rail line in Paris in 1993, may
have been the original inspiration for the linear
park concept. Nevertheless, the High Line
has enjoyed unusual success, attention, and
inuence to urban parks around the world. The
High Line attracts ve million visitors a year,
making it the second most visited cultural venue
in NYC. Additionally, this linear park generates
$2.2billion in new economic activity and raises
tax revenues by an estimated $980million over
the next two decades, according to Kate Ascher
and Sabina Uffer [61].
Indeed, the success of the High Line has
inuenced cities around the world; many
have been attempting to replicate this model
by reexamining the potential of converting
their disused infrastructure into parks. Cities
such as Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco,
Rotterdam, Seoul, Toronto, and Mexico City
are hoping to emulate the concept. “We point
to the High Line all the time as a precedent for
what we are trying to accomplish,” says Leah
Murphy, president of Friends of the Rail Park,
a non-prot organization advocating for a
4.8km linear park in Philadelphia [61, p. 226].
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Figure4.17: The High Line Park in NYC. A formerly disused 1.5-mile stretch of
elevated railway was converted into a linear urban park that connects
multiple neighborhoods. Since its opening in 2009, it has stimulated
urban development, economic growth, and tourism, estimated in over
$2billion. The tall buildings (background) are part of the “futuristic”
Hudson Yards development, under construction. Zaha Hadid Architects
designed the residential building (left). (Photograph by author)
As is the case with New York City’s High Line,
the Philadelphia project aims to repurpose a
former rail line. The same is true for the 606in
Chicago, as well as a project to redevelop
disused train tracks that run through
downtown Rotterdam into an elevated park.
Recently, the Mayor of Seoul announced plans
to turn an elevated roadway adjacent to the
city’s main transit terminal into a park. The
High Line impressed the Mexico City’s Public
Space Authority that it allocated $4.3million
to build a brand-new elevated path to connect
a metro station to the city’s largest park,
according to Kate Ascher and Sabina Uffer [61].
In San Francisco, the Transbay Transit Center
(under construction) will include a 5.4-acre
linear park on the roof of the bus and rail
station. Further, MAD and Stefano Boeri have
recently proposed trails, pedestrian, and bike
network, as well as “vertical forests” (towers
covered with trees and plants) for an area that
encompasses seven disused railway yards in
Milan, Italy [55].
2.4.4 Plazas
Plazas are also important destinations that
draw thousands of people together and ignite
social life (Figures4.18 and 4.19). Plazas offer
respites from stressful workplaces, jammed
streets, crowded sidewalks, and the bustle
of the high-rise city. Each plaza may play a
different role for its respective building and
the area to which it belongs. For example, in
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Chicago, 311West Wacker Plaza is a “garden
oasis” that gives visitors the experience of
engaging with nature, thereby distancing
themselves from the bustle of downtown, at
least momentarily (Figure4.20). Similarly, the
Chicago Tribune South Plaza is an “urban
oasis” that offers an urban “outdoor room”
and invites the public to relax while being
connected to the city. Interestingly, the sunken
plazas of Chase Tower and Aon Center
offer solitude and seclusion (Figure 4.21).
Remarkably, some plazas play multiple roles.
For example, One Financial Plaza acts as both
an “urban oasis” and a “transit foyer.”
Interestingly, the austere, minimalist
Modernists plaza supplies plenty of open
spaces, thus allowing them to host a wide
range of socio-political-cultural events and
farmers’ markets (Figure 4.22). These events
play an important role, connecting the plaza
with the city at large by drawing people from
the greater metropolitan area and engaging
them into spontaneous social interactions,
while forging stronger connections between
people and place, thereby making the city
safer, healthier, and more vibrant. Common
design elements for successful plazas include
a range of sitting spaces, a positive relationship
with the street, and adequate protection from
the elements, lush landscaping (e.g., trees,
water, shrubs), public art, food, and proper
maintenance. Also, research stresses, “…
creating a plaza and turning it over to the city or
the park district to manage is not a sustainable
approach,” according to Linda Baker [62,
p. 61]. Alternatively, POPS (privately owned
public spaces) are offering a better working
model for managing public plazas [62].
Moreover, engaging sculptures, artwork, and
gardens make cities joyful and take away the
attention of visitors from the overwhelming
busy city. Visitors tend to become engaged
in an immersive experience that allows for
a temporary “mental” escape (Figure 4.23).
Children playgrounds offer opportunities
to engage children while accommodating
the need of their accompanying adults.
Importantly, recreational places rejuvenate
and reenergize the millions of people who visit
them. Therefore, these public outdoor spaces
produce a more vibrant social life in the city.
2.4.5 Podiums
In addition to providing public and open
spaces around tall buildings, the design of
the podium (particularly the ground oor)
is crucially important. Issues that architects
need to observe in integrating a tall building
with the street include landscaped setbacks,
special facade treatment, elegant massing,
and identiable entrances. In proportion to
the overall building, the ground oor’s oor-
to-ceiling height must be greater than that of
the building’s upper stories. The tower’s base,
nevertheless, should not exceed ve to six
stories to cater to the human scale and offer
views of the tower’s shaft.
Sufcient openings in the base should support
passive supervision at the street level, and
a colonnaded base has the advantage of
protecting pedestrians from the elements, an
example of which we nd in 200 South Wacker
Drive. The arcade’s exterior columns take
on the form of triangular prisms, enhancing
the sight lines of the space while optimizing
indoor and outdoor views. The colonnaded
base not only mitigates the downward winds
produced by tall buildings but also serves as
a transitional space between the indoor and
outdoor spaces of the building. The reception
area is located against a wall decorated with
red and orange glass owers. At night, lamps
behind these owers illuminate them, evoking
an intriguing visual display (Figure4.24).
Similarly, the 155 North Wacker building in
Chicago, IL, offers pedestrians protection from
the elements. A three-story arcade adjacent to the
lobby invites pedestrians to walk underneath to
enjoy the charming aesthetics of the building
while protected from the elements. The arcade
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Figure4.18: The “street as a plaza” during daytime; the example of East Nanjing Road,
Shanghai, China. (Photograph by author)
Figure4.19: The “street as a plaza” during daytime; the example of East Nanjing Road,
Shanghai, China. (Photograph by author)
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Figure4.20: 311West Wacker Drive Plaza in Chicago, IL. This “garden oasis” offers
respite from stressful workplaces, jammed streets, crowded sidewalks, and
the bustle of downtown. (Photograph by author)
Figure4.21: The sunken plaza of the Chase Tower in Chicago, IL. It offers a peaceful
place away from the “noisy” Chicago Loop. (Photograph by author)
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Figure4.22: Equitable Building Plaza in Chicago, IL. This austere, minimalist
Modernist plaza could be empty (top), but social and cultural programs
have made it busy and inviting (bottom). (Photograph by author)
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Figure4.23: Lurie Garden, Millennium Park in Chicago, IL. It engages visitors
in an immersive experience that allows for a temporary “mental” escape
from the “urban jungle.” (Photograph by author)
Figure4.24: 200 South Wacker Drive in Chicago, IL. Containing a three-story,
glass-enclosed lobby, which is set back from the perimeter, the arcade
entrance enhances the building’s connection with the street. The
reception area is located against a wall decorated with red and orange
glass owers. At night, lamps behind these owers illuminate them,
evoking an intriguing visual display. (Photograph by author)
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leads to the building’s two entries and includes
street furniture and plantings that complement
the space. Notably, the geometric patterns,
high-quality nishing, and architectural details
of the lobby, which continue into the arcade,
establish a visual continuity between the indoor
and outdoor spaces. A public plaza, contiguous
to the arcade on the east side, integrates mature
trees, grass, owers, and granite benches
(Figure 4.25). “Such attention to detail and
provision of space enlivens the buildings
themselves, creating better buildings for their
occupants and provides further connectivity
through the public realm with improved visual
lines and the additional security it provides,” as
Mark Lavery explained [22, p. 96].
2.5 Big data
Scientists, architects, and planners are
attempting to harness “big data.” Table 4.5
illustrates the massiveness of data accumulated
daily. The Chicago Architectural Foundation
presented this table in an exhibit, posing the
question of how to harness data and “the
cloud” to improve human habitats. In their
recent article “Tower at PNC Plaza, Pittsburgh:
designing a data-driven, humanistic high-
rise,” Ben Tranel and Hao Ko illustrate
harnessing large datasets in tall building
projects, for example, the case of the Tower at
PNC Plaza, an ofce building in Pittsburgh,
PA. They demonstrated how extensive
research, data collection, and eld testing
result in “a more sustainable tall building
and a happier, healthier, more productive
workforce” [13]. Tranel and Ko argue that
achieving the successful construction of a
“sustainable” tower needs a broad perspective
on tall buildings, including an analysis of a
building’s architectural, structural, interior,
and constructional components as well as data
Figure4.25: 155North Wacker Drive Building in Chicago, IL. A three-story arcade
adjacent to the lobby invites pedestrians to walk underneath to enjoy the
charming aesthetics of the building while protected from the elements.
(Photograph by author)
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3 Notes
3.1 Density and tall buildings
As a disclaimer, this research does not agree
with the notion that tall buildings are the
only means to achieve denser environments.
Some of the world’s densest cities have the
fewest tall buildings, e.g., Dhaka (Bangladesh),
Manila (Philippines), Cairo (Egypt), Chennai
(India), and Mexico City (Mexico). In their
book Visualizing Density, Julie Campoli and
Alex MacLean [64] illustrate that traditional
low-rise town planning (two—to four-story
“walk-ups”) has achieved a density from 20
to 40 units per acre. With mid-rise buildings,
cities can achieve greater densities ranging
from 40 to 80 units per acre. Recently, there
have been attempts to create dense, sustainable
developments using low-rise and mid-rise
buildings, while offering all major benets
of planned communities, such as walkable
neighborhoods surrounded by open space,
while delivering diverse centers and transit.
Leading examples of dense, sustainable projects
(without using tall buildings) include Western
Harbor in Malmö and Hammarby Sjöstad in
Stockholm in Sweden. Both are large-scale
developments that feature an impressive array
of environmental technologies and thoughtful
city-planning strategies, including “remediated
brownelds, open stormwater collection
channels, district heating and cooling, trash-
suction systems, bike sharing, car pools, and
the conscious extension of the 17th century
urban pattern of small blocks framed by ve—
to seven-story buildings,” according to Walker
Wells, Director of the Green Urbanism Program
at Global Green USA [65, p. 71].
It is important, nevertheless, to note that tall
buildings are the only means to achieve ultra-
density of 100–250 units per acre. We need
ultra-density to take advantage of particular
key locations, for example, major, multimodal
transit stations. Particularly, urban hubs that
feature a direct connection to major transit
nodes could benet from ultra-density for
creating vibrant environments, supplying
ridership, and serving larger masses of people.
These urban hubs should be located so they
connect and serve larger regions, as exemplied
in the TB-TOD paradigm, explained earlier
(also, see Chapters17, 18, and 19).
3.2 Tall buildings and poor population
Although by 2050 we expect that about three-
quarters of the world population will live
in urban areas, the majority will be living in
developing countries. Moreover, due to severe
poverty, many will probably live in informal
settlements that go by several different names
such as shantytowns, squatter settlements,
slums, and favelas, according to the United
Nation’s assessment [46]. Similarly, Daniel
Safarik and colleagues predict that the majority
Table4.5: Examples of big data statistics, as of 2013 [63]
156,400,000,000 emails sent each day
20,800,000,000 total photos posted to Instagram
8,700,000,000 mobile devices, sensors, and other machines connected to the Internet
5,000,000 miles of road mapped on Google Street View
88,798 available datasets on
5,000 megabytes of data produced each day by the average ofce worker
986 sets of public data available on the City of Chicago data portal
100 100hours of video uploaded to YouTube each minute
572213.indd 182 28/05/18 6:27 PM
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of the poor population will not be living in
tall buildings, but “in low-rise, tightly packed
dwellings with poor sanitation and building
services” [66, p. 37]. Further, high-quality tall
buildings are expensive and require resources
and technologies that developing countries
do not have. Alternatively, housing people in
poorly constructed tall buildings runs the risk
of repeating past mistakes that entailed the
proliferation of difcult living conditions and
eventually demolishing these buildings (e.g.,
Cabrini Green in Chicago, IL, and Pruitt–Igoe
project in Saint Louis, MO). Also, developing
countries may not be able to supply quality
social infrastructure and mass-transit systems
needed to support tall buildings. Therefore,
the likely built solution to poor population is
not vertical.
3.3 People’s behavior
Importantly, we need to promote “sustainable
behaviors” among community members. In
his book titled Fostering Sustainable Behavior:
An Introduction to Community-Based Social
Marketing, Doug McKenzie-Mohr elucidates
that people do not behave “sustainably” [67].
Therefore, if sound design and planning aim
to promote sustainable cities, it is important
that people adopt “sustainable” lifestyle that
reduces consumption of resources, carbon
emission, and waste, and reuses and recycles
materials. Among possible strategies to
implement are:
building community support (peer
offering incentives;
fostering effective communication
(sending reminders); and
making desired actions more convenient
For example, whenever possible, walking up
few oors should be encouraged over taking
an elevator (Figure 4.26). Similarly, healthy
food should not be only accessible locally but
should also replace unhealthy eating habits.
“Fast food—that is the fad. What’s healthy,
what’s really going to sustain us—that is
the anti-fad,” as Gabriela Worrel explains
[68, p. 25]. Reducing leftover of everyday
meals is crucial to reduce waste. Likewise, it is
insufcient to recycle and treat water locally.
People should adhere to sustainable water
habits by reducing their consumption, e.g.,
use less water when taking a bath or shower.
Occasionally, people produce unintended
waste (Figure4.27). Similarly, it is inadequate
to build costly mass-transit systems; people
must use them. In the same token, when we
provide recycling bins for papers, yers,
glass, cans, and bottles, people must use them
properly (Figure4.28).
Stephen Mouzon offers in his book The
Original Green: Unlocking the Mystery of
True Sustainability crucial remarks on the
importance of sustainable behavior [63].
Among his major points for the average citizen
to live by, aside from sustainable efforts by
planners and architects, are [69, p. 112]:
choose it for longer than you will use it;
live where you can walk to the grocery;
live where you can make a living; and
choose smaller stuff with double duty.
Mouzon explains that sustainable behaviors
are more effective than relying on costly
technologies. He explains: “In the current
world of green and sustainable design, so
much weight is put on technology; the adding
of solar power, high tech glass, qualifying
for LEED. It is all about ADDING things”
[70]. The main lesson we may learn from
Mouzon’s research is how well one can do
with less by sharing resources and becoming
less consumptive of nite resources and more
efcient in everything we do. Interestingly,
“doing well with less” echoes “less is more”
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Figure4.26: CUPPA (College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs) Hall, the
University of Illinois at Chicago. The sign intends to encourage faculty
and students to use stairways instead of elevators in this six-story
building. (Photograph by author)
Figure4.27: Water bottles after a professional conference session. Water bottles offer
convenience, but people do not nish drinking their water, generating
unnecessary waste. (Photograph by author)
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Figure4.28: Some people do not practice recycling as intended. (Photograph by author)
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Figure4.29: “Photovoltaic gazebo” at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus,
Chicago (top); solar compactor at the University of Illinois, Chicago
campus (bottom). These small physical elements may make a difference at
least by raising awareness of sustainability. (Photograph by author)
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Page 187
motto that was embraced by Modernist
architects, for example, Ludwig Mies van der
Rohe who pioneered tall buildings with the
minimalist International Style (see Chapter5).
Overall, embracing a “sustainable” behavior
and lifestyle is an important factor to deliver
greener, cleaner, and healthier cities.
3.4 Greenwashing
While sustainability is an important concept,
we need to stress that greenwashing is
prevalent. Cities’ “green” agendas have been
“hijacked” by industries who wish to take
advantage of the new trend by converting
sustainable mission into money-grubbing
businesses. Industries propagate the notion
that new technologies offer superior benets
[3]. Mouzon reects on this issue by stating:
“Today, most discussions on sustainability
focus on ‘gizmo green,’ which is the
proposition that we can achieve sustainability
simply by using better equipment and better
materials” [3, p. 42]. Surely, integrating
“smart” technology and “green” machines
into our daily life is important; nevertheless,
“this is only a small part of the whole
equation. Focusing on gizmo green misses
the big picture entirely,” according to Mouzon
[3, p. 43]. We need to question where the
technology comes from. In the context of the
United States, he argues that using Low-E
glass imported from China and selling
organic produce from Chile do not necessarily
contribute to making our cities more
sustainable when we consider transportation
and environmental implications. We need
to pay attention to both the broader issues of
sustainability and the smaller measures such as
banning plastic bags, restricting lawn watering,
and using renewable energy (Figure4.29).
3.5 Future research
Future research should examine the social
sustainability of tall buildings in depth. There
is a need to investigate the impact of high-
rise living on social behavior and community
and lifestyle in different places and cultures.
Given the world’s aging population, we
have to examine the needs of the elderly and
disabled concerning high-rise living. Also, it
would be useful to do more research on inter-
generational living. High-rise design should
reect the signicant differences in needs of
seniors versus young single professionals, or
families with children. Finally, research on the
big E (equity) in the triple bottom line is lacking.
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