The high-rise tower is the hallmark of the late twentiethcentury city. Practically and symbolically, the skyscraper is the dominant building type, its impact affecting every facet of urban life, its scale affecting the very form of the city. Towers have resolved certain of society's needs for density and concentration, and have opened up new ways of experiencing space. But their dominance does not mean that we, as designers or as users of these super-scale structures, have succeeded in resolving the many environmental and urbanistic issues they pose. We have yet to use high-rise towers as an effective urban building block. We have yet to make them uplifting places to live or work. We have become dependent upon high-rise buldings, but we have also been compromised by them. How have these unwieldy, yet often breathtakingly elegant, buildings come to shape our urban lives so dramatically?
In the beginning there was the village, and then the city, the height of their buildings dictated by the distances people could climb -- four, or perhaps five, stories. Based on the scale and size of these walk-up buildings, the organization of the city's streets and public spaces developed over centuries, and evolved in relationship to the transportation systems, building materials, and