Monday, October 18, 2010

Building Height Restrictions Lead to More Tall Buildings

I think an underappreciated impact of DC's building height restriction is that instead of a downtown district with some very tall buildings, and then not-so-tall buildings elsewhere, you have an evolution towards a city of uniform 12ish story buildings. These aren't skyscraper tall, but it obviously pushes anything resembling single family dwellings (attached or not) way way way outside of the downtown area. Contra a commenter there, I think the preservation of 2-3 story residential buildings in much of Philadelphia has a lot to do with zoning in that while we allow tall buildings some places we don't actually allow them everywhere. But it is also the case that if our skyscrapers were smaller then medium rise buildings would spread farther than they have. That isn't necessarily bad thing, but the point is that restricting skyscrapers creates more medium rises at the expense of more human scale buildings.