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Harvard Economist: Thumbs Up for Chicago's High-Rises

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Still on the fence on the cities vs. suburbs debate? In a new Atlantic feature, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser (whose new book, Triumph of Cities, hits bookstores today!) argues in the name of Progress that dense, skyscraper-filled cities are the way forward, and that height restrictions are the enemy of progress (and environmentalism, economic prosperity, etc.). Here, he argues that Chicago's historically pro-development government has helped keep prices down, relative to NYC:

"Land is also pretty limited in Chicago's Gold Coast, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Demand may not be the same as in Manhattan, but it's still pretty high. Yet you can buy a beautiful condominium with a lake view for roughly half the cost of a similar unit in Manhattan. Building in Chicago is cheaper than in New York—but it's not twice as cheap. The big cost difference is that Chicago's leadership has always encouraged new construction more than New York's (at least before the Bloomberg administration). The forest of cranes along Lake Michigan keeps Chicago affordable."So it should follow that because of our "forest of cranes" (sounds like Glaeser hasn't visited in a few years) Chicago is the most prosperous city in all the land, right? He doesn't quite go that far, but he does tout Chicago's verticality, which puts less pressure on other parts of the real estate market, and gives non-millionaires a place to lay their heads.
· How Skyscrapers Can Save the City [The Atlantic]