As technology advances and more countries require taller buildings tower construction keeps getting more advanced, taller, and more expensive. And with the world’s tallest building title always up for grabs you can bet that city skylines will keep changing.
Taipei 101, located in Taipei, Malaysia was passed up as the world’s tallest building in 2010 by Burj Khalifa in Dubai. And there are currently fifty other proposed tower projects that would pass these buildings up. The competition is fierce, but some of the richest nations in the world have been passed up in the race, including the United States. But why would these poorer nations see fit to keep building such elaborate buildings and richer nations prefer to stay closer to the ground?
Tower Construction requires a lot of money, time, and innovation. Sophisticated pumping systems are required to get water and concrete to the upper levels, enormous foundations going deep into the ground must be constructed, and cranes tall enough to get beams to the tallest levels must be constructed. It takes thousands of man hours to plan for such an event, and even more are required to get the correct permits, secure the right real estate, gather the funds, and find the company that will get the job done. In a nation like the United States it might not be necessary to build such a tall building when there is plenty of land to be had. Unless the project must take place in Manhattan, a corporation might be able to get a cheaper option building a wider, shorter complex somewhere else. In a smaller principality like Dubai it is easier to justify the expense of building up, since the land will be more in demand and as a result more expensive.
In addition, having the world’s tallest building cannot only be a special distinction for a corporation, but also a nation. For many of the corporations and nations of Europe and the United States that span the globe and employ hundreds of thousands of employees and dominate world politics, it may not be necessary to send any additional message of power to the world. But for Dubai, who wishes to set itself apart as the financial center of the Middle East and an important trading partner for the world, this extreme type of tower construction seemed to be what they were looking for.
Recently, however, due to the unfavorable economic conditions, extreme tower construction has slowed. Even the Burj Khalifa of Dubai has had trouble filling its many floors with tenants. Many nations and corporations just are not willing to shell out the tens of billions of dollars necessary to complete this type of construction when many do not have enough money to stave off unemployment. This type of project is many times much more about prestige than necessity. With so many countries struggling to maintain their economic positions in the world it may not be surprising that many have scaled back. But rest assured as technology advances and world markets recover construction of these buildings will continue, bigger and better than it has ever been.