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Old 06-10-2009, 11:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imaterry78259 View Post
Our skyline has not have any significant changes since the Tower of America and the Weston Bldg. We need some 60 story towers . SA DT skylne will look like Waco or Beaumont
No, we don't. Skyscrapers are not compatible with good urbanism.

 
Old 06-10-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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I will never understand the compulsion in certain quarters to equate a big skyline with the success or perceived success of a city. Especially a city like San Antonio that has for all intents and purposes an unlimited amount of land to build on in every direction.

Personally, I am much more impressed with something like River North, which is planning to revitalize and restore previously ignored or underutilized urban space. To me, a vibrant River North is worth five 60 story skyscrapers, because rather than focusing development and money on a small area, it creates change along a swath of town that will, if all works according to plan, bleed out into the surrounding areas and change the face of a fairly large portion of the city. A skyscraper just doesn't do that.
 
Old 06-10-2009, 02:47 PM
 
824 posts, read 1,605,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleanor Rigby View Post
I will never understand the compulsion in certain quarters to equate a big skyline with the success or perceived success of a city. Especially a city like San Antonio that has for all intents and purposes an unlimited amount of land to build on in every direction.

Personally, I am much more impressed with something like River North, which is planning to revitalize and restore previously ignored or underutilized urban space. To me, a vibrant River North is worth five 60 story skyscrapers, because rather than focusing development and money on a small area, it creates change along a swath of town that will, if all works according to plan, bleed out into the surrounding areas and change the face of a fairly large portion of the city. A skyscraper just doesn't do that.
Right on.

I believe the fascination with skyscrapers and an "impressive" skyline are from people who won't ever live in a truly urban context. They just like staring at shiny buildings from a long way away.
 
Old 06-11-2009, 05:12 AM
 
3,219 posts, read 8,004,504 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvlpr View Post
Right on.

I believe the fascination with skyscrapers and an "impressive" skyline are from people who won't ever live in a truly urban context. They just like staring at shiny buildings from a long way away.
Perception is a lie that becomes true. The city needs towers because they signify the wealth and the type of business acumen a city has. Just look at DT Austin it makes the city looks so much more signficant than SA. Perception bring business to the area. Perception has made a small town Austin a juggernaut that is about to pass SA in all aspects. SA keep on having that small time urbanism image of yourself. I think towers would look good over the River Extension since it would keep some of the heat bearing down on you. If the towers were a mix condo type it would bring people back to the DT area thus raising the tax base

Frm Worst skylines in TEXAS
love Houston's skyline, especially coming down from 45 or up from 288... and Dallas would come in at a close second. The worst would have to be...hmm...big cities--San Antonio, small cities...Waco.


On a related note, at least one publication predicts Austin's metro area population surpassing San Antonio's by 2025 (bizjournals: Projected population of 250 U.S. metros

Last edited by imaterry78259; 06-11-2009 at 05:25 AM..
 
Old 06-11-2009, 06:42 AM
 
175 posts, read 241,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvlpr View Post
Right on.

I believe the fascination with skyscrapers and an "impressive" skyline are from people who won't ever live in a truly urban context. They just like staring at shiny buildings from a long way away.
I don't think a city necessarily needs to have tall buildings dominating its downtown, but I think in a city that doesn't have much going on for it (sorry, San Antonio), that yes, an attractive skyline creates interest and passion and wonder amongst not only the citizens of the city but also influences the perceptions of outsiders.

For instance, when you get a postcard from LA, or Chicago, or New York (pre-911 especially), you're likely to see the city depicted through its central business district, or downtown. These cities are dominated by large, towering structures, most notably the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center in Chicago, and the World Trade Center and GE Building in New York.

Get a postcard from San Antonio and what, you'll see a depiction of the Alamo or the Riverwalk? That to me, just paints a very different picture of the cities true being in relation to ones who have more prominent skylines. A skyline says a lot about a place - where it's going, what it's all about, and what it wants to be.

With its dull, outdated, brown-hued mid-rise buildings downtown, I don't think San Antonio says it's trying to be progressive or interesting or cosmopolitan. While this may, in San Antonio's case, be largely true, I think a new and improved skyline would benefit the city greatly, not just aesthetically, but also in overall spirit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleanor Rigby View Post
I will never understand the compulsion in certain quarters to equate a big skyline with the success or perceived success of a city. Especially a city like San Antonio that has for all intents and purposes an unlimited amount of land to build on in every direction.
When you get a postcard from a notable city, you don't see a picture of the tract housing in its far-flung reaches. You see, generally, a symbol or representation, of what makes that city renowned. Therefore, if San Antonio wants to be seen as successful or dare I say, relevant, I just think there needs to be more development downtown, especially in regards to the skyline, which at the present time is rather unattractive and unremarkable.

Last edited by L3XVS; 06-11-2009 at 06:51 AM..
 
Old 06-11-2009, 07:03 AM
 
175 posts, read 241,612 times
Reputation: 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by imaterry78259 View Post
Perception is a lie that becomes true. The city needs towers because they signify the wealth and the type of business acumen a city has. Just look at DT Austin it makes the city looks so much more signficant than SA. Perception bring business to the area. Perception has made a small town Austin a juggernaut that is about to pass SA in all aspects. SA keep on having that small time urbanism image of yourself. I think towers would look good over the River Extension since it would keep some of the heat bearing down on you. If the towers were a mix condo type it would bring people back to the DT area thus raising the tax base

Frm Worst skylines in TEXAS
love Houston's skyline, especially coming down from 45 or up from 288... and Dallas would come in at a close second. The worst would have to be...hmm...big cities--San Antonio, small cities...Waco.


On a related note, at least one publication predicts Austin's metro area population surpassing San Antonio's by 2025 (bizjournals: Projected population of 250 U.S. metros
I agree one hundred percent. Sometimes, perception can ultimately prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy in regards to economic and corporate development. It can even be more persuasive than reality, because perception defines how something is seen, whereas reality defines how something is.

Not only does Austin have UT, a world class institution churning out top talent (who, by and large stay in Austin), but also demonstrates very strong and emerging information technology, pharmaceutical, biotech, and private equity industries. So right there, it's at a tremendous advantage over San Antonio.

But, most importantly, the reason I believe Austin will eventually surpass San Antonio in both population and significance is that Austinites, and the city government, generally embrace progress, reform, and continuity. While San Antonians and the city government, on the other hand, seem to embrace invariability, and a kind of defiant, stalwart retrogressiveness in regards to moving San Antonio to the next level.

San Antonio needs to get it together, and get it together fast, because it continues to get left further and further behind.

Last edited by L3XVS; 06-11-2009 at 07:52 AM..
 
Old 06-11-2009, 07:08 AM
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Location: Ohio
16,822 posts, read 33,209,949 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imaterry78259 View Post
Perception has made a small town Austin a juggernaut that is about to pass SA in all aspects.
I disagree about the cause/effect relationship. Being the state capital and the home of the state's largest Research I university is what makes Austin a juggernaut. Both of those factors make businesses want to locate there and that makes developers want to locate large structures in Austin's downtown. If skyscrapers were a "build it and they will come" proposition, you'd see them built in much smaller cities, and subsidized by local governments as readily as industrial parks.
 
Old 06-11-2009, 07:21 AM
 
175 posts, read 241,612 times
Reputation: 97
I agree with the sentiments above, but lets not forget that San Antonio, up until recently atleast, was not a corporate backwater town. It had five F500 companies in its city limits, the same as Los Angeles. However, unfortunately, none, except the recently departed AT&T, chose to develop complexes downtown, instead choosing exurban complexes or low-rise office buildings.

Yes, a more impressive skyline could vastly improve San Antonio's aesthetic, but until the city starts to make San Antonio a more attractive option for corporate business (which, at this time it is not), we can forget about any of this ever coming to fruition.

The city also needs, in the case of future business growth, to provide incentives for companies to move into and cultivate downtown buildings, and not into some suburban compound.

Lastly, I question the assertion that Austin's status as a capitol city spurred its development, thus qualifying it as "juggernaut" status. The development boom Austin has experienced is pretty new, as historically, the city has not been a hub of business or economic growth, and basically was a glorified farm town with the tallest state capital in the nation. Austin's growth was in essence one of cause/effect. The city had a large number of educated young people and the industry that formed was a direct result of that.

Last edited by L3XVS; 06-11-2009 at 07:54 AM..
 
Old 06-11-2009, 12:47 PM
 
Location: South Side
3,770 posts, read 7,292,333 times
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Personally I find tract houses charming.
 
Old 06-11-2009, 01:14 PM
 
824 posts, read 1,605,438 times
Reputation: 597
I don't think a city necessarily needs to have tall buildings dominating its downtown, but I think in a city that doesn't have much going on for it (sorry, San Antonio), that yes, an attractive skyline creates interest and passion and wonder amongst not only the citizens of the city but also influences the perceptions of outsiders.

And to what end are we creating "wonder" or "passion"? Do you really think that skyscrapers are going to convince a suburbanista to move downtown? We should be concerned about creating livable, vibrant neighborhoods where people actually want to live (as opposed to skylines that people want to look AT). When we create neighborhoods like that, there will be plenty of interest, and not solely from people who want to look at shiny buildings in the distance.

For instance, when you get a postcard from LA, or Chicago, or New York (pre-911 especially), you're likely to see the city depicted through its central business district, or downtown. These cities are dominated by large, towering structures, most notably the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center in Chicago, and the World Trade Center and GE Building in New York.

Right. These are the 3 largest cities/metro areas in the country, so they're going to have lots of tall buildings. But the best neighborhoods (where people actually live) in these places generally don't have lots of skyscrapers. More often, they feature human-scaled buildings and mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods (and lots of historic architecture).

Paris only has one skyscraper, and it's generally considered a pretty decent place to live.

With its dull, outdated, brown-hued mid-rise buildings downtown, I don't think San Antonio says it's trying to be progressive or interesting or cosmopolitan. While this may, in San Antonio's case, be largely true, I think a new and improved skyline would benefit the city greatly, not just aesthetically, but also in overall spirit.

By your standards, West Village in NYC (or Logan Square in Chicago, or Belltown in Seattle, or Nob Hill in SF, or Pearl District in Portland) are "dull", "outdated", and not "progressive". You don't really believe that, do you?

And I really don't think there's anything wrong with SA's "spirit". There are plenty of people who are happy to be here (both in our urban neighborhoods and in the suburbs), and who think that this city has great prospects for the future. It's far from perfect, and has LOTS of room for improvement (though the same could be said for most cities in the US).

But 10 new skyscrapers won't change that. Compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods will. And skyscrapers are simply incompatible with those kinds of neighborhoods.

The city also needs, in the case of future business growth, to provide incentives for companies to move into and cultivate downtown buildings, and not into some suburban compound.

Uh, what about Dell's corporate campus? Or Freescale? Or Temple-Inland? Whole Foods is the only Fortune 500 company in Austin with a downtown office. This is not a problem that is unique to SA, and there's only so much our city can do (I mean "bribe") to get big companies into the center city.

When you get a postcard from a notable city, you don't see a picture of the tract housing in its far-flung reaches. You see, generally, a symbol or representation, of what makes that city renowned. Therefore, if San Antonio wants to be seen as successful or dare I say, relevant, I just think there needs to be more development downtown, especially in regards to the skyline, which at the present time is rather unattractive and unremarkable.

First, Austin has roughly the same amount of tract home subdivisions as SA. And Dallas and Houston (with their fancy skylines) have roughly triple the amount of tract home development of Austin & SA. So one has nothing to do with the other.

And I agree that we need (and will probably see) much more development in our center city. But that doesn't have to mean more skyscrapers. It can mean lots and lots of 3-5 story buildings, but in an urban form, and connected to one another by multiple transit options (including walking).

You still haven't made a case why skyscrapers make a city more "relevant". They're extremely expensive to build, consume more energy, require much more parking, concentrate densities disproportiantately, eliminate natural light, disrupt established building patterns and scales, and (generally) make use of materials and design styles that don't age gracefully.
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