With each passing day, month and year, the real estate and construction scene marks a change in building trends. For a while now, skyscrapers have been on the increase in most cities around the world. They come in different heights, with eye-catching designs.

Skycrapers hugely rely on a tubular inner structure to aid in resisting changes in their immediate environment. Changes such as wind, seismic or others. However, in spite of their impressive size, modern skyscrapers’ walls are not in fact load bearing.

As the population in each country increases, the urban centres also experience an increase as there is a drift from the rural areas. In making efficient use of land, most city developpers would prefer a high rise structure.

In a report this week, The World Bank has urged city developpers not to be obsessed with these type of buildings and resort to it as the only means of avoiding an urban sprawl. “There are environmental, economic, and social benefits to compact cities that combine both vertical and horizontal expansion.” the reported stated.

As such, developpers should prepare for horizontal expansion as newcomers arrive in urban centres. The study found that in poor countries, 90% of new buildings sprung up at the edges of cities, extending their boundaries horizontally, while in rich nations about 35% were built on empty sites within urban centers.

Mr. Lall, the World Bank’s lead urban economist, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone, “The obsession should not be about building skyscrapers but the passion should be about building livable cities”

“With about 70% of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, up from 55% at present, cities should plan to accommodate all three types of development.” (These are: vertical, horizontal and within existing centres.) Either this or risk facing uncontrolled sprawl, overcrowding, and congestion, Mr. Lall said.

One solution to this issue lies in pyramid-shaped cities. They are generally more livable as they allow inhabitants to enjoy more floor space in a dense environment. Also it provres more productive, as the reduced distance between workplaces and employees boosts productivity, the report said.

Although cities cannot go from “flat” to “pyramid” with planning regulations alone. Newly built central high-rises risk remaining vacant if people cannot afford to live in them, the World Bank researchers said.

For developing cities in particular, it is vital to prepare for horizontal expansion, building transport links and basic infrastructures to ensure livable conditions on the outskirts, and lay the groundwork for future development, the report said.

“If managed well, cities that take a more pyramid-like shape can assist in speeding up sustainable development by getting people out of cars, cutting commute times, and limiting greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr. Lall added.

They are also better for the environment as sprawling peripheries encroach on surrounding natural areas and often lack adequate transport links, increasing traffic and pollution.


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