Author Topic: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers  (Read 14058 times)

AaroniusLives

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #60 on: December 28, 2010, 03:21:18 PM »
Regarding the "originality" or lack thereof of Miami/South Florida's skyscrapers, they may have hit the point of overkill, with so many of them being built at the same time (the last 25 years or so,) but they've set the standard. Dubai's skyline, is elements of Miami's design on acid. I get that the design doesn't appeal to everybody, but South Florida's impact on architecture, specifically high-rise architecture, is undeniable.

However, until very recently (the 2000s,) high-rises built anywhere in Florida helped to erase and empty out downtown districts. Remember, successful cities aren't defined by "how tall the buildings" are but rather "how they combine density and walkablity." Tall buildings built prior to World War II integrated into the fabric of downtown, and boosted capacity in the thriving districts. A high-rise built in the 1960s, the 1970s or the 1980s took already depressed central business districts, consolidated office or residential space into slender towers barely connected to the streets (and frequently designed to shun the streets, creating "suburbs in the sky,") and thus, emptied out the surrounding buildings (in Jacksonville's case, making it much, MUCH easier to build the stunning city of vacant lands joined to parking lots we see today.)

I went to conservatory in downtown Miami during the late 1980s, early 1990s. They had just built the "Centrust Tower" a few years before, as well as the "Southeast Bank Building," which provided vertical "wow" factor, but didn't remotely help the City of Miami from becoming a vacant, scary place after 6pm. They certainly didn't help surrounding, less skyscraping, less modern buildings from gentrifying down a notch or three, or emptying out entirely.

Now, Miami (and to a lesser extent, greater South Florida,) has changed their paradigm and is promoting a walkable lifestyle among the skyscrapers...which is good, but it's important to note that to a complete degree, South Florida is built out. They have little choice but to build up, since they can't build out, nor can they widen roads, or annex swamp, or...fill in the pre-2000s South Florida trick here.

Skyscrapers in New York made and make a ton of sense: there's a whole lot of people and not a lot of land. Skyscrapers in Miami make sense now: there's a whole lot of people and not a lot of land. But skyscrapers or high-rises just don't make a ton of sense in areas that aren't approaching adequate densities to support them. I'd almost wish that there was a law: you can't build above six stories tall until you hit a certain level of population density. 'Cause they scrape the sky and suck the ever living life out of the city.

Note that Paris is basically skyscraper-free and is still the model for city planning, density and urban life done right. Note that DC has not high-rises to speak of (and arguably, the proper density to support said skyscrapers without destroying the urban fabric and life on the street,) and yet, DC is awesome...as a city. 

thelakelander

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #61 on: December 28, 2010, 03:32:48 PM »
^Great points.
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ChriswUfGator

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #62 on: December 28, 2010, 03:48:33 PM »
The skyscrapers didn't cause the suburb in the sky problem, the changing nature of American business did. Corporations no longer felt they needed to interact with their customers in person, much less general society. Guards were installed at front doors, executives had their own sealed off floors, dining rooms, and parking areas so that even the rest of the workers couldn't interact with them. This really began to take hold across the board in the 1970s and 1980s and the nature and design of office buildings reflected this newly adversarial nature of conducting business.

Even so, the centrust tower was actually one of the first metro mover stations and is a largely public building. Armed guards aplenty to access the bank's offices though, and you'd have been shot before you made it near David Paul's office. These kind of buildings reflect, quite literally, the physical expression of people who felt they're better than everyone else. This is just an observation, and I'm hardly the only one who has noticed it. David Ginzl cited the disconnected management brought about by the isolation of the top 2 floors of the new building as a contributing factor in the decline of Barnett Bank.

Anyway, it's not the architecture or height that does this it's the sponsors who are paying for the structure who are demanding "security features."
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 03:50:07 PM by ChriswUfGator »


Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #63 on: December 28, 2010, 04:20:02 PM »
What change was made?

Up the corporate ladder, into the corner office, having the penthouse, bigger, better, nicer, more luxurious, more expensive, more exclusive, more chic......

Business hasn't changed, people's goals haven't changed and I don't believe they will.  Take a look around, while your driving in one of your 2 vehicles, and you'll notice that it's a damned possesive world out there.  And I don't think anyone works their ass off to say, "Yep, I made it.  All the way to the 4th floor!"

Go back and read Aaronius' post, it makes a lot of sense.
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AaroniusLives

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #64 on: December 28, 2010, 04:33:21 PM »
Quote
The skyscrapers didn't cause the suburb in the sky problem, the changing nature of American business did. Corporations no longer felt they needed to interact with their customers in person, much less general society. Guards were installed at front doors, executives had their own sealed off floors, dining rooms, and parking areas so that even the rest of the workers couldn't interact with them. This really began to take hold across the board in the 1970s and 1980s and the nature and design of office buildings reflected this newly adversarial nature of conducting business.

Even so, the centrust tower was actually one of the first metro mover stations and is a largely public building. Armed guards aplenty to access the bank's offices though, and you'd have been shot before you made it near David Paul's office. These kind of buildings reflect, quite literally, the physical expression of people who felt they're better than everyone else. This is just an observation, and I'm hardly the only one who has noticed it. David Ginzl cited the disconnected management brought about by the isolation of the top 2 floors of the new building as a contributing factor in the decline of Barnett Bank.

Anyway, it's not the architecture or height that does this it's the sponsors who are paying for the structure who are demanding "security features."

Your comments about the Centrust Tower entirely prove my point. The MetroMover was designed specifically so that people coming in to work downtown wouldn't have to deal with the horrors of the "street." That it pulls into the Centrust building, where your choices are to exit, to go to a bank teller, to go to a security-filled lobby, or to go to a security-filled, 10th floor cafeteria for white-collar working folks, is the very definition of a skyscraper that doesn't enhance the urban experience. It is an office park built vertically.

As for what caused the "suburbs in the sky" problem, it's fairly unjust to place the blame all on the big-bad corporations, when I suspect that most everybody who decided sprawl is better than density are to blame...and that's a whole lot of American citizens. Mind you, I actually think that the cities themselves are somewhat blameless here; once they started the ball rolling on suburbanization, they were presented with an impossible situation, which was to retain or attract top-drawer business via infrastructure improvements (skyscrapers in less dense cities being an "improvement" here,) that would, paradox be damned, help to eradicate what remaining life there was in the cities.

Imagine being the mayor of a city in the 1970s. You've already lost most of your commerce to the shopping malls, and you've replaced what you could with shops and services a notch or three down from what was there before (using Miami as an example, they retained Burdines' flagship store because it was also their HQ, but Miami's "premier shopping street" of Flagler became Miami's "discount jewelry and electronic crap" street.) The middle and upper classes had already left (and, in fact, promoted the commercial relocation in the first place.) Do you want to lose your remaining business community? What steps do you take to retain it? For most cities, it was the office high-rise.

I just take umbrage with this belief that high-rise buildings or skyscrapers equal cities. That's flat-out untrue, and in many ways, these high-rise buildings and skyscrapers help to hollow out the very cities they are meant to instill pride within. To put this another way, imagine if the Modis Dustbuster building was six blocks of five story buildings (ideally, with street front retail, but beggars can't be choosers, eh?) That would be six blocks of downtown Jacksonville with something rather than nothing. Much like the something that was there before.

ChriswUfGator

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #65 on: December 28, 2010, 04:47:56 PM »
What change was made?

Up the corporate ladder, into the corner office, having the penthouse, bigger, better, nicer, more luxurious, more expensive, more exclusive, more chic......

Business hasn't changed, people's goals haven't changed and I don't believe they will.  Take a look around, while your driving in one of your 2 vehicles, and you'll notice that it's a damned possesive world out there.  And I don't think anyone works their ass off to say, "Yep, I made it.  All the way to the 4th floor!"

Go back and read Aaronius' post, it makes a lot of sense.

I read his post. Just because I didn't draw the same conclusion as you evidently did hardly means I didn't read.

I just think buildings reflect the society that constructs them, I don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas. More social trends than anything else.


thelakelander

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #66 on: December 28, 2010, 04:51:25 PM »
Here are some images of what was replaced by Independent Square (MODIS).



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ChriswUfGator

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #67 on: December 28, 2010, 04:56:27 PM »
You and I agree on the function of buildings of this era being to intentionally isolate their inhabitants. That was my point to begin with. However I think you're confusing cause and effect on this one, buildings are Reflections of their builders more than anything else and the isolation function that really began in the 1960s and gathered steam in the 70s and 80s reflects the societal trends behind that thinking. The buildings didn't kill anything or change urban society, they are merely reflective of the change in social values that did that, and which led to their isolating designs in the first place.

I also don't equate "city" with high-rise automatically, you are wrongfully assigning that to me for some reason. However, I don't think high rises cause the death of urban environments just by virtue of being tall either. That's a gross oversimplification of the societal trends that led to the decline of many urban environments. The isolated nature of the buildings are merely an effect, not the cause.

Quote
The skyscrapers didn't cause the suburb in the sky problem, the changing nature of American business did. Corporations no longer felt they needed to interact with their customers in person, much less general society. Guards were installed at front doors, executives had their own sealed off floors, dining rooms, and parking areas so that even the rest of the workers couldn't interact with them. This really began to take hold across the board in the 1970s and 1980s and the nature and design of office buildings reflected this newly adversarial nature of conducting business.

Even so, the centrust tower was actually one of the first metro mover stations and is a largely public building. Armed guards aplenty to access the bank's offices though, and you'd have been shot before you made it near David Paul's office. These kind of buildings reflect, quite literally, the physical expression of people who felt they're better than everyone else. This is just an observation, and I'm hardly the only one who has noticed it. David Ginzl cited the disconnected management brought about by the isolation of the top 2 floors of the new building as a contributing factor in the decline of Barnett Bank.

Anyway, it's not the architecture or height that does this it's the sponsors who are paying for the structure who are demanding "security features."

Your comments about the Centrust Tower entirely prove my point. The MetroMover was designed specifically so that people coming in to work downtown wouldn't have to deal with the horrors of the "street." That it pulls into the Centrust building, where your choices are to exit, to go to a bank teller, to go to a security-filled lobby, or to go to a security-filled, 10th floor cafeteria for white-collar working folks, is the very definition of a skyscraper that doesn't enhance the urban experience. It is an office park built vertically.

As for what caused the "suburbs in the sky" problem, it's fairly unjust to place the blame all on the big-bad corporations, when I suspect that most everybody who decided sprawl is better than density are to blame...and that's a whole lot of American citizens. Mind you, I actually think that the cities themselves are somewhat blameless here; once they started the ball rolling on suburbanization, they were presented with an impossible situation, which was to retain or attract top-drawer business via infrastructure improvements (skyscrapers in less dense cities being an "improvement" here,) that would, paradox be damned, help to eradicate what remaining life there was in the cities.

Imagine being the mayor of a city in the 1970s. You've already lost most of your commerce to the shopping malls, and you've replaced what you could with shops and services a notch or three down from what was there before (using Miami as an example, they retained Burdines' flagship store because it was also their HQ, but Miami's "premier shopping street" of Flagler became Miami's "discount jewelry and electronic crap" street.) The middle and upper classes had already left (and, in fact, promoted the commercial relocation in the first place.) Do you want to lose your remaining business community? What steps do you take to retain it? For most cities, it was the office high-rise.

I just take umbrage with this belief that high-rise buildings or skyscrapers equal cities. That's flat-out untrue, and in many ways, these high-rise buildings and skyscrapers help to hollow out the very cities they are meant to instill pride within. To put this another way, imagine if the Modis Dustbuster building was six blocks of five story buildings (ideally, with street front retail, but beggars can't be choosers, eh?) That would be six blocks of downtown Jacksonville with something rather than nothing. Much like the something that was there before.


Keith-N-Jax

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #68 on: December 28, 2010, 05:05:03 PM »
Everyone has their opinion. If a person chooses to live in a highrise building that's their decision and where they choose to live. Not everyone wants a home/house. Aaronius post is once again some ones opinion which all are entitled to.

AaroniusLives

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #69 on: December 28, 2010, 06:00:58 PM »
Quote
I just think buildings reflect the society that constructs them, I don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas. More social trends than anything else.

ChriswUfGator, I agree that "buildings reflect the society that constructs them" as well. However, just because "[you] don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas" doesn't make it so. That's been proven, time and time again, in city after city after city. By far, the most salient example of such is the GM HQ building in Detroit, which was built to "save" the urban fabric of the city, and instead, slurped whatever remaining life was left out of the city.

Quote
You and I agree on the function of buildings of this era being to intentionally isolate their inhabitants. That was my point to begin with. However I think you're confusing cause and effect on this one, buildings are Reflections of their builders more than anything else and the isolation function that really began in the 1960s and gathered steam in the 70s and 80s reflects the societal trends behind that thinking. The buildings didn't kill anything or change urban society, they are merely reflective of the change in social values that did that, and which led to their isolating designs in the first place.

I agree that society changed, and thus, the style of buildings, where those buildings were located and how they were to be used and accessed changed. But...this is just simple math here. Let's say that downtown Jacksonville had 1000 people occupying ten, four-story buildings before skyscraper x was built. x now houses all of those 1000 people, and there's little demand for more. The ten, four-story buildings are left to decay, or are demolished for parking (for x,) or are just flat-out demolished. What was once a few blocks of density is now a tower in isolation. Do societal changes and desires inform that change? Of course. As did a huge suction pump of a skyscraper (x) that was built in a downtown that couldn't handle the vertical impact.

Quote
I also don't equate "city" with high-rise automatically, you are wrongfully assigning that to me for some reason. However, I don't think high rises cause the death of urban environments just by virtue of being tall either. That's a gross oversimplification of the societal trends that led to the decline of many urban environments. The isolated nature of the buildings are merely an effect, not the cause.

Sorry for the wrongful assignation. However, I don't think that it's a gross oversimplification. Moreover, it's not merely that the buildings are, by design, isolated experiences disconnected from the urban fabric. It's that the buildings designed to be isolated were dropped into central business districts that were already struggling with vacancies, thus killing them off. Obviously, high-rises are but a part of the overall decline and their development and implementation are obviously informed by the social pressures when they were built. But high-rise development in an area with a population decline (such as downtown Jacksonville) are as much of a cause for the continued desolation as they are an effect of the societal trends that led to the decline in the first place.

And while you may not equate "city" with "skyscraper," a great many people do, and that's entirely part of the problem. You can see it at the end of this article:
Quote
Will Jacksonville ever have a building reclaim the title of Florida's Tallest? One day it may be possible, but for now we will have to take pride in the fact that the Florida Skyscraper boom began in Jacksonville.


Here's my answer: perhaps Jacksonville will again have a building that will reclaim the "tallest" title. But perhaps Jacksonville should hit appropriate densities of both residential and commercial populations before they attempt to reach for the sky.

Look at a former article on this site:
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-oct-the-plight-of-the-urban-core

How about getting back to at least your 1950s population and density in the urban core before you even consider a high-rise. That's just smart. Build a city you're proud of, that people actually live in. Skyscrapers be damned. They don't make a city until you have the proper density to have them be a benefit, not a sucking hole.

(Mind you, I just want to be clear. I totally respect your opinion and intelligence, ChriswUfGator. This is a debate, not an attack, so again, I apologize if it came off as such.)

Quote
Everyone has their opinion. If a person chooses to live in a highrise building that's their decision and where they choose to live. Not everyone wants a home/house. Aaronius post is once again some ones opinion which all are entitled to.

So not the point, Keith-N-Jax. My post(s) were not opinion pieces on "where I want to live" or "high-rises suck!" You live in a "city" where the urban core has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You live in a "city" practically defined by empty city blocks and parking blocks. By all means, if you want to live in a high-rise, go for it. But that vertical development is entirely outsized and quite harmful for an urban area that has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You make the bag bigger (by going up,) but you don't have the need for the bigger bag. What you do have the need for, is multi-block density. You need ten, four-story buildings instead of one, forty-story building.

This, incidentally, is the main lesson learned in South Florida during the initial phases of the skyscraper boom. Miami spent billions to encourage both high-rise office and residential development, and yet the city still faltered, failed. And yet, down the road a bit, a neighborhood with minimal initial investment took off as the "place," primarily by virtue of its walkable, dense, original fabric. That was Coconut Grove. Miami spent more billions and got a couple of iconic towers...and yet, it still didn't get what it was looking for. But, over the causeway, a bunch of gays, artists and bohemians took decayed but unique urban fabric and relaunched South Beach. It wasn't until Miami went mixed-use and high-rise (and South Florida literally ran out of room for more sprawl,) that Miami's 30-year, multi-billion dollar bet even remotely began to pay off. 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 06:11:51 PM by AaroniusLives »

ChriswUfGator

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #70 on: December 28, 2010, 06:41:52 PM »
That's a nice theory, but I find it a gross oversimplification that fails to account for white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period. It really has little to nothing to do with the problems, which were much larger than your explanation accounts for.

Quote
I just think buildings reflect the society that constructs them, I don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas. More social trends than anything else.

ChriswUfGator, I agree that "buildings reflect the society that constructs them" as well. However, just because "[you] don't believe height sucks the life out of urban areas" doesn't make it so. That's been proven, time and time again, in city after city after city. By far, the most salient example of such is the GM HQ building in Detroit, which was built to "save" the urban fabric of the city, and instead, slurped whatever remaining life was left out of the city.

Quote
You and I agree on the function of buildings of this era being to intentionally isolate their inhabitants. That was my point to begin with. However I think you're confusing cause and effect on this one, buildings are Reflections of their builders more than anything else and the isolation function that really began in the 1960s and gathered steam in the 70s and 80s reflects the societal trends behind that thinking. The buildings didn't kill anything or change urban society, they are merely reflective of the change in social values that did that, and which led to their isolating designs in the first place.

I agree that society changed, and thus, the style of buildings, where those buildings were located and how they were to be used and accessed changed. But...this is just simple math here. Let's say that downtown Jacksonville had 1000 people occupying ten, four-story buildings before skyscraper x was built. x now houses all of those 1000 people, and there's little demand for more. The ten, four-story buildings are left to decay, or are demolished for parking (for x,) or are just flat-out demolished. What was once a few blocks of density is now a tower in isolation. Do societal changes and desires inform that change? Of course. As did a huge suction pump of a skyscraper (x) that was built in a downtown that couldn't handle the vertical impact.

Quote
I also don't equate "city" with high-rise automatically, you are wrongfully assigning that to me for some reason. However, I don't think high rises cause the death of urban environments just by virtue of being tall either. That's a gross oversimplification of the societal trends that led to the decline of many urban environments. The isolated nature of the buildings are merely an effect, not the cause.

Sorry for the wrongful assignation. However, I don't think that it's a gross oversimplification. Moreover, it's not merely that the buildings are, by design, isolated experiences disconnected from the urban fabric. It's that the buildings designed to be isolated were dropped into central business districts that were already struggling with vacancies, thus killing them off. Obviously, high-rises are but a part of the overall decline and their development and implementation are obviously informed by the social pressures when they were built. But high-rise development in an area with a population decline (such as downtown Jacksonville) are as much of a cause for the continued desolation as they are an effect of the societal trends that led to the decline in the first place.

And while you may not equate "city" with "skyscraper," a great many people do, and that's entirely part of the problem. You can see it at the end of this article:
Quote
Will Jacksonville ever have a building reclaim the title of Florida's Tallest? One day it may be possible, but for now we will have to take pride in the fact that the Florida Skyscraper boom began in Jacksonville.


Here's my answer: perhaps Jacksonville will again have a building that will reclaim the "tallest" title. But perhaps Jacksonville should hit appropriate densities of both residential and commercial populations before they attempt to reach for the sky.

Look at a former article on this site:
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-oct-the-plight-of-the-urban-core

How about getting back to at least your 1950s population and density in the urban core before you even consider a high-rise. That's just smart. Build a city you're proud of, that people actually live in. Skyscrapers be damned. They don't make a city until you have the proper density to have them be a benefit, not a sucking hole.

(Mind you, I just want to be clear. I totally respect your opinion and intelligence, ChriswUfGator. This is a debate, not an attack, so again, I apologize if it came off as such.)

Quote
Everyone has their opinion. If a person chooses to live in a highrise building that's their decision and where they choose to live. Not everyone wants a home/house. Aaronius post is once again some ones opinion which all are entitled to.

So not the point, Keith-N-Jax. My post(s) were not opinion pieces on "where I want to live" or "high-rises suck!" You live in a "city" where the urban core has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You live in a "city" practically defined by empty city blocks and parking blocks. By all means, if you want to live in a high-rise, go for it. But that vertical development is entirely outsized and quite harmful for an urban area that has lost more than 90,000 residents since 1950. You make the bag bigger (by going up,) but you don't have the need for the bigger bag. What you do have the need for, is multi-block density. You need ten, four-story buildings instead of one, forty-story building.

This, incidentally, is the main lesson learned in South Florida during the initial phases of the skyscraper boom. Miami spent billions to encourage both high-rise office and residential development, and yet the city still faltered, failed. And yet, down the road a bit, a neighborhood with minimal initial investment took off as the "place," primarily by virtue of its walkable, dense, original fabric. That was Coconut Grove. Miami spent more billions and got a couple of iconic towers...and yet, it still didn't get what it was looking for. But, over the causeway, a bunch of gays, artists and bohemians took decayed but unique urban fabric and relaunched South Beach. It wasn't until Miami went mixed-use and high-rise (and South Florida literally ran out of room for more sprawl,) that Miami's 30-year, multi-billion dollar bet even remotely began to pay off. 


stjr

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #71 on: December 28, 2010, 06:49:34 PM »
I think the insularity of skyscrapers will be/have been compounded following the original attack in the garage of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing.  Owners are probably paranoid about attacks and security which just creates even more barriers with the surrounding urban fabric.  I note that even in older high rises in NY, it is often impossible to get much beyond the front door without a security encounter.  What building owner wants to put a store front to the street that allows anyone with evil intentions to access the base of the structure unencumbered.  Sadly, on this point, terrorists have succeeded in altering our society.
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

ChriswUfGator

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #72 on: December 28, 2010, 07:14:14 PM »
That's a nice theory, but I find it a gross oversimplification that fails to account for white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period. It really has little to nothing to do with the problems, which were much larger than your explanation accounts for.

who are you answering

Aaronius (sic)

He's arguing in his first paragraph that the excess density injected into urban environments by large buildings itself destroysnurban fabric. I think that's a bit shortsighted considering all the larger factors that precipitated the decline of midsized American urban environments in the 1960s-1990s. I suspect that had little to do with it.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 07:17:13 PM by ChriswUfGator »


AaroniusLives

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #73 on: December 28, 2010, 07:18:32 PM »
Quote
That's a nice theory, but I find it a gross oversimplification that fails to account for white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period. It really has little to nothing to do with the problems, which were much larger than your explanation accounts for.

It adds to the issue. It compounds everything you list, like "white flight, the economic conditions, tax structures, political influences, and many other macro factors that caused urban decline across the country during that time period."

Let's say Jacksonville didn't build one high-rise from 1950 on and assume that the urban core would still lose more than 90,000 peeps. Instead of having whatever is left confined to empty lots surrounding outsized buildings, you'd have less empty lots surrounded by urban fabric.

But, whatever. We're clearly potahto/potayto here.

Quote
I think the insularity of skyscrapers will be/have been compounded following the original attack in the garage of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing.  Owners are probably paranoid about attacks and security which just creates even more barriers with the surrounding urban fabric.  I note that even in older high rises in NY, it is often impossible to get much beyond the front door without a security encounter.  What building owner wants to put a store front to the street that allows anyone with evil intentions to access the base of the structure unencumbered.  Sadly, on this point, terrorists have succeeded in altering our society.

Security is a fact of life pretty much everywhere. WTC may have made NYC more secure, but it's still a livable, walking city that has skyscrapers because they have density. Jax doesn't, security issues or otherwise. I work over the bridge from DC in Arlington, in a high-rise with uber-security. And yet, the ground floor features exterior retail pods that integrate with the urban fabric of Arlington. The high-rises are here because there is a need for concentrated development over what was/is already dense and growing.


Quote
It is my belief that the Skyscrapers were caused by the railroads and killed by the computer.


They're still building skyscrapers all over the world. The main reason is that urban areas have a need: to create more space where there is none. They have the density to support them.

I was just in Monaco (which, for the record, is the most insanely beautiful place, ever.) Nearly every building outside the old city or Monaco-Ville was a high-rise to a skyscraper with ground floor shops, restaurants, banks, businesses, etc. Aside from the wealth factor, the skyscraper model works there because they have no land and yet they are still growing. They need a bigger bag, as they've already stuffed the existing one to the brim. Jacksonville hasn't.

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He's arguing in his first paragraph that the excess density injected into urban environments by large buildings itself destroysnurban fabric. I think that's a bit shortsighted considering all the larger factors that precipitated the decline of midsized American urban environments in the 1960s-1990s. I suspect that had little to do with it.

Actually I'm arguing that excess capacity injected into urban environments by large buildings destroys urban fabric, and I'm agreeing with you that it doesn't occur in a vacuum. I'm arguing that excess capacity creates cities of parking lots and empty lots. I'm arguing that when you build a high-rise tower, it doesn't increase overall density of the urban area if the demand for space is met by the high-rise tower and the surrounding fabric empties out. This didn't happen by itself, without all the larger factors you mentioned, but it did happen. Does happen. You can take a drive downtown and witness the effects for yourself. Or, Jacksonville can build yet another grand mega-project, increase capacity where there is no need, and watch another parking lot bloom from the desolate wreckage.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 07:27:10 PM by AaroniusLives »

ChriswUfGator

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Re: A Century of Florida's Tallest Skyscrapers
« Reply #74 on: December 28, 2010, 07:26:02 PM »
Monaco is the smallest nation on earth, not really the best comparison to the largest city by land area in one of the largest countries. Not that I don't see the logic in your theory, I do. I just don't think is necessarily carries over, considering the other macro factors I mentioned which were in play when the urban decline occurred. I get where you're going, it makes sense. There was just a lot more to it.