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Building the SkylineThe Birth and Growth of Manhattan's Skyscrapers$
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Jason M. Barr

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199344369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344369.001.0001

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Measuring the Skyline

Measuring the Skyline

(p.184) 6 Measuring the Skyline
Building the Skyline

Jason M. Barr

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates skyscraper economics over the twentieth century by looking the variables that influence the supply and demand of building height. First a simple theoretical model is presented that shows the determinants of the profit-maximizing height of the building. Then the chapter discusses the data that was collected to test the theory. The chapter then discusses the results of a statistical analysis to see why the economic height of skyscrapers has evolved over time. Next is a discussion of the reasons why skyscrapers might be “too tall,” including the role of income inequality, height competition, and overoptimism. The chapter presents a list of the top ten “too tall” buildings in Manhattan. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of why New York has not built the world’s tallest building since 1972.

Keywords:   skyscraper height, skyscraper economics, statistical analysis, world’s tallest building, supply and demand

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