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Build tall, save the world?

Posted by Binyamin Appelbaum March 21, 2008 11:19 AM

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The Globe reports this morning on plans for the tallest residential building in Boston. This is certain to draw considerable opposition from the many people in Boston who do not like tall buildings, a disproportionate number of whom sometimes seem to live in the Back Bay.

The traditional battle lines are clear enough: The champions of economic development against the defenders of quality-of-life.

But there's another argument for more skyscrapers: We have a climate problem, and only one kind of development is truly 'smart' -- skyscrapers. Nothing is more efficient than density. Stacking homes like Legos saves energy, reduces emissions, cuts traffic.

"If we care about Boston, if we care about the environment, we should build up and build tall," Tom Keane wrote in the Globe Magazine in January. "A skyline is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, it may save us all."

Our history is clear: Boston is not a city of tall buildings. Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas and Miami all have more buildings that rise at least 500 feet. By contrast, ours is a city of mid-rises, and of neighborhoods we suspect can't be improved.

What do you think our future should be?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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