In downtown cities and residential areas, the decision to build high-rise apartment buildings is becoming increasingly popular. Developers may see this as a means of saving space and money, but what is often not considered is the poor quality of life and lack of environmental output that comes with these buildings.
Most homebuyers consider community as one of the most important aspects of living. Regular interaction with neighbors, commuting, and location are typically highly regarded for those searching for a new home, and high-rise apartment buildings limit most, if not all of these aspects. They often isolate those living within them rather than connecting people, and diminish the amenities of urban housing and design.
The idea of establishing residents nearly 50 floors above street level is unnecessary, and frankly reduces the liveability of whatever city these structures reside in. All this development strategy does is detach residents from street life, which can lead to not only physical separation, but social and psychological separation as well, according to Sydney-based architect Kerry Clare. She has stated that these buildings are essentially silos that diminish quality of life.
High-rise apartment buildings is often sparked by financial and political decisions, according to Clare. Most of them were designed and built during economic bubbles during which many were owned by investors. The fact that they are so easily swayed could lead to more of them being developed.
Yet another negative that comes with these buildings is their lack of sustainability. High towers often require constant air conditioning or heating due to apartment heights experiencing high velocities of wind, preventing residents from opening their windows. Similarly, their exposure to the sun led to many apartments reaching high temperatures, demanding an even higher output of air conditioning. Pools and spas also increase energy use within these buildings.
The heights of these buildings affect the communities around them as well. Wind tunnels are often generated through their walls and the streets below, and the overall street environment declines with towering shadows. The life surrounding them is gloomy, both literally and figuratively.
Another facet of high-rise buildings pointing toward poor sustainability is their inability to properly house families. Many apartments within these buildings are one-bedroom homes fit only for couples or one individual. Because of this, many are occupied for short periods of time, whether they are being rented by students, or young adults transitioning into their new lives. This, in turn, poorly reflects on a given city’s long-term sustainability.
There are many arguments on both sides of the debate, but there’s no denying that high-rise apartment buildings are beginning to become outdated in the world of real estate development. In order to preserve the well-being of residents and their communities today, developers should seek different strategies in terms of construction.