Skyscrapers are becoming a much more common sight in the modern global city today than ever before. Since the turn of the millennium, London alone has added another 23 new skyscrapers to its skyline, whilst Dubai has built close to 190 skyscrapers.
According to the latest Global Cities Skyscraper Index from Knight Frank, Sydney has been ranked seventh in the world for skyscrapers, beating the likes of Los Angeles (ninth place) and Shanghai in tenth position.
In spite of this, Hong Kong remains the world’s leading city for skyscrapers, but the gap is closing with New York close on its tail.
So, what exactly does this Global Cities Skyscraper Index measure?
The index measures rents, yields, the number of skyscrapers and growth prospects for high rise towers. Sydney is amongst the top players, but to remain in the top 10 there needs to be strong government support for Sydney to become more of a skyscraper city.
It comes as no surprise that the top two cities are cities situated on islands. This means that space is limited and therefore if these cities want to build more buildings, then the most economical way is to build upwards to maximise the potential space.
Sydney is also a harbour city and is constrained by the water and parklands which means that the CBD is spreading and there is a greater trend for more skyscrapers and apartment blocks in Sydney.
There are two trends that the Knight Frank report highlights which are driving the skyscraper building boom within the world’s major cities. Firstly, there is a trend in a shift in the global economy towards city centres being the place for knowledge jobs, whilst secondly people today want to live closer to the CBD for work to cut down their commutes and professionals are living in apartments more than ever before.
The Global Cities Skyscrapers 2015 Report also highlights five future trends that will encourage the Global Cities to go upwards, making skyscrapers an essential component of urban growth. These five trends include: 1) New technology
There are new technologies emerging to make new buildings more cost effective and taller, as currently going above 500 metres can become problematic. 2) Living in the city
Across the globe, migration, gentrification and growing economic opportunities are bringing about rapid population growth in the major cities. 3) Business clusters
Digital companies has shown a strong inclination to cluster in dense urban areas. 4) Limiting sprawl
Skyscrapers reduce urban sprawl which allows a city to concentrate on building better transport connections within the city rather than extending transport networks outwards. 5) The community city
With more people living in the city centres, the CBD will become less of a ghost town and more of a lively hub of entertainment, shopping and culture.
Currently in Sydney, skyscrapers have stopped at a height of 235 metres over the last 30 years, so to remain in seventh position; Sydney will need to lift current height limits over the CBD, but this will involve challenging the influence of federal aviation authorities. Both Brisbane and Melbourne have skyscrapers that are taller than 235 metres.
Sydney is home to approximately 1,170 high-rise buildings, with 30 buildings that rise at least 150 metres in height, whilst Sydney’s tallest building is the Chifley Tower standing at 244 metres tall and opened in 1992.
Looking back in time, in 2009, there were just 19 skyscrapers in the world that had a height of 1,000 feet or more. Today, there are now 79 skyscrapers.
There is a definite skyscraper boom happening across the world with more people today working in an office environment and the ground floors and basements of buildings are now being commonly used for retail and leisure facilities.
With land becoming scarcer and a rise in population in cities across the world, we are likely to start seeing many more skyscrapers that are taller in the years to come.
What are the top 10 cities in the Global Cities Skyscraper Index?
- Hong Kong
- New York
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
Published on 20th of July 2015 by Marty Stanowich