Fascination: Skyscrapers

They are high, impressive and symbolize economic power. Skyscrapers save space and show the pursuit of growth. Limited space conditions and an increase in the costs of building ground led to the construction of more and more skyscrapers in the metropolis of Chicago and New York since the late 19th century.

The invention of the elevator in 1852 and the trend to build skyscrapers went hand in hand. Technically it was already possible before this time to create buildings with more than six floors – but caused by the convenience of the potential tenants it would have been difficult to rent them.

Ranking of the cities with the highest skyscraper density:

1. Hong Kong
2. New York City
3. Tokyo
4. Wuhan
5. Shenzhen
6. Chicago
7. Shanghai
8. Dubai
9. Toronto
10. Guangzhou

With the completion of the Chrysler Building in 1930, the story of the race for the tallest building in the world began. The Chrysler Building could hold this record for only one year. Finally, the Empire State Building became the tallest building in the world. 42 years later in 1972, the Empire State Building was surpassed by an even higher building: The World Trade Center. After two more years, the Sears Tower took over the title of the tallest building in the world.

The enthusiasm for the construction of skyscrapers was fired and the metropolises began to grow. Which cities have the highest density of skyscrapers? Emporis has produced a ranking of the cities with the highest skyscraper density – this article provides an overview of the top 10:

1. Hong Kong

The former British colony has been part of the Republic of China since 1997. The big construction boom started in the 80s. The skyscrapers are presented every evening with an impressive light show.

Number of skyscrapers1,302
Citizens7.43 million
Area1,053 sqm
Highest buildingInternational Commerce Centre
484 meter

2. New York City

New York has still one of the most impressive skylines in the world. The current construction trend in “Big Apple” is the construction of “bioclimatic skyscraper”.

Number of skyscrapers736
Citizens8.54 million
Area789 sqm
Highest buildingOne World Trade Center
527 meter

3. Tokyo


In the twenties and thirties, Japan experienced an economic flowering phase. In Tokyo, more and more skyscrapers were built. This was also due to the increase in population numbers.

Number of skyscrapers491
Citizens‎9.42 million
Area622 sqm
Highest buildingTokyo Metropolitan Government Building
243 meter

4. Wuhan


The goal of the Chinese government is to make around 400 million Chinese from peasants to urban residents in the coming decades. Despite its population density, Wuhan connects a large number of trading companies with parks and lakes.

Number of skyscrapers370
Citizens10.61 million
Area8,494 sqm
Highest buildingWuhan World Trade Tower
278 meter

5. Shenzhen


The city is famous for its contemporary buildings and its large shopping centers. As a special economic zone, Shenzhen is particularly interesting for foreign investors. That is why Shenzhen is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Number of skyscrapers326
Citizens11.91 million
Area2,050 sqm
Highest building

KK100
442 meter

6. Chicago

The development of high-rise buildings started in Chicago. After a fire in 1871 the destroyed city had to be rebuilt. Due to the economic boom in the “windy city”, new houses had to be built quickly and provide more space.

Number of skyscrapers315
Citizens2.71 million
Area606,1 sqm
Highest buildingWillis Tower
527 meter

7. Shanghai


Shanghai is not only the most populous city in China but also the center of art and commerce. Since 1990, the city has experienced a construction boom, which has fundamentally changed the skyline.

Number of skyscrapers296
Citizens24.15 million
Area6,340 sqm
Highest buildingShanghai Tower
632 meter

8. Dubai

Dubai is particularly known for its many spectacular construction projects. Clear construction regulations and an unbureaucratic system supported the development of the construction boom.

Number of skyscrapers289
Citizens2.789 million
Area4,114 sqm
Highest buildingBurj Khalifa
830 meter

9. Toronto


The skyline of Canada’s most populous city has changed in recent decades. Between 2012 and 2016, 91,855 new residential units were built in 683 projects. At present, there are no signs of a decline in the construction boom.

Number of skyscrapers257
Citizens2.81 million
Area630,2 sqm
Highest buildingFirst Canadian Place
355 meter

10. Guangzhou

Guangzhou, the capital of the Guangdong Province, is the third largest city in China and an emerging trade center. Because of its location along the Pearl River and its proximity to Hong Kong, Guangzhou has been a strategically important port city for centuries.

Number of skyscrapers245
Citizens14.04 million
Area7,433 sqm
Highest buildingCTF Finance Center
530 meter
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