By Jason M. Barr
The ny skyline is without doubt one of the nice wonders of the fashionable international. yet how and why did it shape? a lot has been written in regards to the city's structure and its basic background, yet little paintings has explored the industrial forces that created the skyline.
In Building the Skyline, Jason Barr chronicles the commercial historical past of the big apple skyline. within the approach, he debunks a few commonly held misconceptions concerning the city's heritage. beginning with Manhattan's ordinary and geological background, Barr strikes directly to how those formations motivated early land use and the improvement of neighborhoods, together with the dense tenement neighborhoods of 5 issues and the reduce East facet, and the way those early judgements ultimately impacted the site of skyscrapers outfitted through the Skyscraper Revolution on the finish of the nineteenth century.
Barr then explores the commercial heritage of skyscrapers and the skyline, investigating the explanations for his or her heights, frequencies, destinations, and shapes. He discusses why skyscrapers emerged downtown and why they seemed 3 miles to the north in midtown-but now not in among the 2 parts. opposite to well known trust, this used to be now not end result of the depths of Manhattan's bedrock, nor the presence of Grand imperative Station. really, midtown's emergence used to be a reaction to the commercial and demographic forces that have been happening north of 14th highway after the Civil struggle.
Building the Skyline additionally provides the 1st rigorous research of the factors of the development growth in the course of the Roaring Twenties. opposite to standard knowledge, the growth used to be mostly a rational reaction to the industrial development of the state and town. The final bankruptcy investigates the worth of big apple Island and the connection among skyscrapers and land costs. eventually, an Epilogue bargains coverage techniques for a resilient and powerful destiny skyline.
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Extra resources for Building the Skyline: The Birth and Growth of Manhattan’s Skyscrapers
As is a common theme throughout this book, the skyscraper is a solution to an economic problem: how to house as many people as possible on the same location of the planet. The tenements of Five Points and the Lower East Side were also solutions to a similar problem: how to house as many low-income immigrants as possible, when so many of them were choosing to live in the same place. We forget or ignore the facts that, by and large, given the economic realities of tenement building, these neighborhoods were successfully, and affordably, sheltering the immigrant classes of the city.
To answer this first requires a definition of economics. The standard definition, as recounted in textbooks, tends to be rather dull and has the magical gift of immediately alienating the would-be student from further inquiry. 8 But if we pause to reflect on what this definition really means, we see that economics is simply the study of how human beings attempt to solve the material problems created by their existence—how they manage to provide for themselves the things they need to not only survive, but to live in comfort and style.
For this reason, these theories are tested using data and statistical analysis. I have avoided as much technical discussion as possible and have focused on the nature of the data collected and the results of these analyses. For the interested reader, specific details can be found in the Appendix. Statistical analysis is helpful because it is a means by which larger patterns can be observed. Historical accounts of skyscrapers, for example, tend to focus on the biggest or most important of the species.