The case for tall buildings
When gentle density isn't enough
My first idea about housing policy was a sort of naive intuition that Washington, D.C. should have taller buildings like Manhattan where I grew up. In the intervening 17 years or so, I’ve learned a lot about land use in the United States, and I’ve seen a lot of pro-housing political movements secure success with other ideas around Accessory Dwelling Units and fourplexes. I’ve grown a little bit obsessed with parking regulations and historic preservation.
And of course, one very good reason to have moved off the tall buildings thing a bit is that in the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of the country, big towers are genuinely not an economically relevant idea.
That being said, there are places in the country where legalizing taller buildings would be very useful. And I still live in Washington, D.C. which has abnormally short buildings for a central city. I’ll never forget the shame of walking around the Inner Habor in Baltimore with my kid while he remarked “wow, the buildings here are…
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