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Soaring development casts shadow over cities

A flurry of new high-rises from New York to San Francisco has revived a debate over the benefits of development versus seeing the sun. (Brisan/flickr/cc)

The skyscraper — the most visible sign of economic progress in cities — also casts a long, dark shadow. Emily Badger reports for the Washington Post that soaring architecture in North American cities has revived a debate over the benefits of development versus being able to see the sun. 

This “urban tension” now simmers in New York, San Francisco, Toronto and elsewhere, she writes. Billionaire’s Row, a section of midtown Manhattan being transformed by high-rise luxury residential buildings, is on the front lines. The flurry of new structures will block sunlight, darkening both the look and mood, some say, of the canyons below.

The consequences can be as opaque as the shadows themselves. “They change the feel of space and the value of property in ways that are hard to define,” Badger writes.

Existing residents sometimes grumble that their once picture-perfect views are blocked, sunlight gone. “Shadows even turn light into another medium of inequality,” the article says. “A resource that can be bought by the wealthy, eclipsed from the poor.”

Washington Post

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