The Economics Of Shadows

May 8, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Emily Badger looked at buildings that cast a shadow on us all:

  • Developers are racing ever-faster to build the tallest buildings in the world – often times for the rich to exclusively enjoy.
  • What’s often given less attention is the long shadows these buildings cast on the streets and people below.
  • These shadows are in part why in New York City laws require that buildings get narrower as they go up, so that the city isn’t darkened by shoulder to shoulder skyscrapers.
  • In San Francisco developers have to hire “shadow consultants” that measure the amount of “theoretical annual sunlight hours lost” and submit this information to the government before getting approval to put up a new building.
  • As such buildings continue to be built, light is becoming another expression of inequality. Those who can afford to pay to live in high skyscrapers get to enjoy it at the expense of those living below.
  • The battle between light and dark has taken on an added dimension with the spread of solar installations that can be blocked by new skyscrapers.
  • Half a world away, in the sweltering Middle East, citizens jostle for the shade offered by the shadows of big buildings.

Read more about the dark side and the light side here.

Source: The Washington Post