High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

Shanghai 2018This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Adam Jezard, Formative Content

China seems determined to reach the stars by building ever-taller skyscrapers. In 2017 it saw the construction of 144 high-rises of more than 200 metres (660 feet) in height, including 15 described as “supertall” structures that tower above 300m (980 ft), according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

The city of Shenzhen is a particular tall-building hotspot, with CNN’s architectural journalist Christopher DeWolf writing in July 2017 that 11 of 128 tall towers built in the past year had been constructed within its environs. This was more than were built in the US, and twice the number in any other Chinese city.

The reason for the city’s attractiveness is due to its designation in the 1980s as a special economic zone, in which companies are subject to less regulation. The need for office space and accommodation for businesses and workers trying to make the most of its competitive advantages has powered the city’s vertical growth.

However, the Chinese construction sector overall has been an enticing draw for non-domestic lenders, attracting around $4 billion in inward investment, with Taiwan, France and the US being among the biggest bettors on the sector, according to fDi Markets, a Financial Times company that monitors financial speculation in global markets.

In 2016, Shenzhen topped the list of Chinese cities with both the fastest-rising property prices and number of inhabitants, having enjoyed a population increase of more than 6000% between 1985 and 2015.

High-rise, high finance

But, while China may be leading the field, it is not the only emerging and developing economy to be fixated on stretching its towers as high as it can.

According to a 2015 report by Global Construction, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is home to more than 160 towers of more than 160m (525 ft), while the Burj Khalifa in Dubai tops 828m (2717 ft). Meanwhile, the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia has the ambition of being the first building in the world to be a kilometre high when it is completed in 2020 – and so deprive the Burj of its crown as the world’s highest building.

It is perhaps no accident that high-rise buildings have often been associated with high finance. The first skyscrapers appeared in the late 19th century, with the Jenney’s Home Insurance Building in Chicago, completed in 1885, often cited as the first to meet the definition: it was a steel-framed building of more than 10 storeys.

Building in Chicago, completed in 1885, often cited as the first to meet the definition: it was a steel-framed building of more than 10 storeys.

Image: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

The financial and commercial centre of New York soon followed in Chicago’s wake, with the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, completed in the late 1920s and early 1930s, providing pioneering examples of how cities aspiring to international greatness could use the size of their constructions to demonstrate their commercial virility.

But the world order is changing, and Asian and Middle East nations are now vying with older, established economies to be the future leaders in finance and technology-based industries.

Fawlty Towers?

According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat: “The distribution of the world’s 100 tallest buildings [completed in the previous year] broadly reflects that of the wider set of 200 metre-plus buildings worldwide. Asia leads with 54, followed by the Middle East with 26, North America with 15, and Europe with four.”

However, it is notable that the European four were constructed in the emerging economy of Turkey.

So does the emergence of ever-taller skyscrapers tell us anything about which countries and cities will be successful – or can the continual rise of buildings in metres and feet be used to predict their economies’ downfall?

In 1999, property analyst Andrew Lawrence developed what he called the Skyscraper Index: Fawlty Towers, that argued the construction of record-breakingly tall skyscrapers could be used to predict coming financial crises. The British author C. Northcote Parkinson had also observed that it was mainly failed or failing organizations that had good-looking, well-planned buildings.

Image: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

While more recently researchers have rejected Lawrence’s claims, they say there may be some correlation between increasing gross domestic product and skyscraper height, and that taller buildings may be being completed at or near the height of business cycles.

However, with economists asking if markets around the globe are overvalued, and experts particularly worried whether China’s economy is overinflated with debt, speculators may be looking at the world’s fastest-rising buildings and wondering if the value of the tall structures they have invested in could have a long way to tumble.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

‘Business as usual’ will not achieve global education goals

ECB to support only banks not Peoples

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: The New Draft Agreement!

French Prime Minister passes Stability Program and takes his ‘café’ in Brussels this June

Stress, overtime, disease, contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports UN labour agency

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech from World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions

Should we be worried about third-hand smoke?

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

Uncovered liabilities of €5 billion may render EU insolvent

Nicaragua must end ‘witch-hunt’ against dissenting voices – UN human rights experts

Reintegrating former rebels into civilian life a ‘serious concern’ in Colombia: UN Mission chief

2019 Innovation Scoreboards: The innovation performance of the EU and its regions is increasing

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

Yellen and Draghi tell Trump and markets not to expedite the next crisis

ECB: Growth measures even before the German elections

Is Germany yielding to pressures for more relaxed economic policies?

Google and Apple suddenly realise that doing business in EU is tough?

Neither side stands to benefit in US-China trade spat, UN says

Can green bonds help us manage climate risk?

6 things to know about press freedom around the world

4 essential qualities for digital leaders

UN highlights profound implication of population trends on sustainable development

Nigeria: Top UN officials say more support needed to ease humanitarian crisis and rebuild lives in conflict-ravaged north-east

EU finally agreed to cut roaming charges in 2017 but criticism is always there

Checks, fines, crisis reserve: MEPs vote on EU farm policy reform

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Diplomacy for Peace Day, #VaccinesWork, the cost of war on Afghans, tech and well-being

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

Commission threatens Chinese firms with trade penalties

A Sting Exclusive: “eHealth can change many dimensions of how the healthcare area functions”, Polish MEP Michal Boni underscores from Brussels

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector

The Fourth Industrial Revolution can close the digital divide. This is how

Polish PM chooses to focus on economy, amid questions on rule of law in Poland

Jellyfish are taking over the world – and climate change could be to blame

UN Chief ‘strongly rejects’ Guatemala decision to expel anti-corruption body

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

Now is the time to seize ‘unprecedented opportunity’ of the Sustainable Development Forum, says ECOSOC President

ECB’s billions fortify south Eurozone except Greece; everybody rushes to invest in euro area bonds zeroing their yields

New UN Syria envoy pledges to work ‘impartially and diligently’ towards peace

Impact of high debt levels on least developed countries ‘cannot be overstated’, says UN

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

How a more integrated approach could help to end energy poverty

More needs to be done to bridge the digital gender divide

How Finland is fighting fake news – in the classroom

These countries have some of the highest voter turnout in the world

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: A European patent system can help European businesses lead industrial research and innovation on a global scale

Human trafficking cases hit a 13-year record high, new UN report shows

European Youth, quo vadis?

Food supply chain: A step closer to ending unfair trading

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

Why the ECB had to clarify it caters for the entire Eurozone not just Germany?

Moscow’s Eurasian Union lost significance after the crisis in Ukraine

Yemen war: UN chief urges good faith as ‘milestone’ talks get underway in Sweden

Why and how did ISIS and Muslim fundamentalism gain momentum this year?

A new era of computing is coming. How can we make sure it is sustainable?

How the world’s best teacher is changing lives in Africa

Human rights: breaches in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan

EU to Google: How to dismantle European search engines in 13 steps

New UN bullying report calls for ‘safe, inclusive’ schools for all children

Guterres censures terrorist attacks in Nigeria, pledges UN ‘solidarity’

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s