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America's Tallest Cities

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So in the Miami thread on Skyscraperpage, somebody had posted that Miami is on the verge of eclipsing Houston with height. This poster said Houston had two 1,000 ft, one 900 ft and seven 700+ft buildings. I realize that Houston has one 1,000 footer and two 900 ft buildings, but that's neither here nor there. The point of this post is the poster said that Miami, with it's three 700+ ft buildings will soon pass Houston in height due to all the planned residential highrises. Is that possible? Even in a booming market, building five or six highrises to the likes of 700+ feet would be an exercise in futility, waste and flooding a market that already has multiple buildings sitting vacant. Thoughts?

BTW, outside of New York City and Chicago, we ARE the tallest city in America aren't we?

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These are Current.. not planned, under construction, or demolished.

I would say with these numbers that nothing remotely compares with NYC and Chicago, but that yes we are in distant 3rd, and that Miami is no where close to overtaking us.

In the US top 10...

Chicago has 4

NYC has 4

Atlanta and LA each have 1.

In the US top 25...

Chicago has 7

NYC has has 7

Houston has 3

Philly has 2

Dallas has 2

Cleveland, Seattle, Atlanta, LA have 1

In the top 100.. (The current approx cut off is 725' to join this club)

NYC 33

Chicago 19

Houston 9

LA 6

Philly 5

Atlanta / Dallas 4

Seattle / Minneapolis 3

Boston / Charlotte / Miami / Pittsburgh / SF 2

Cleveland / Detroit / Indianapolis / Vegas / Jersey City / & Mobile, AL 1

Source - http://en.wikipedia....e_United_States

Even if the Miami booster is counting by building heights and not number of buildings.. We have 9 over 725'... They have 2. That's a difference of 5075' . Unless by 700'+, that poster means 1450'.. those 3 buildings aren't going to nearly catch them up.

Edited by Highway6
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The tallest existing buildings between the two are in Houston. In fact, Houston currently has three buildings - JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Williams - which are taller than Miami's current tallest.

Looking into the future is a bit harder, especially since the recent economic downturn left many proposed Miami highrises suspended or on the drawing table. Houston doesn't have any very tall buildings under construction at the moment, so it's up to Miami to build some to surpass us. Many of the very tall projects proposed for Miami in the past five years were suspended or cancelled. To my knowledge, none of the current under-construction projects come close to the height of Houston's three tallest.

Of course, there's the matter of projects which have been proposed and approved. One Bayfront Plaza is approved for construction but (to my knowledge) has not actually been started. It would be 320m (1,049 ft) if constructed according to reports. [There are also reports that it could be 308m.] That would surpass JPMorgan Chase (and all other Houston towers). Another strong proposal for Miami is the Phase 2 of Brickell Financial Center. It would be 275m (902 feet), which would make it taller than Williams but shorter than Wells Fargo.

None of this addresses two other points, however: Is Houston the third tallest city? and Does Houston have the tallest buildings outside NYC and Chicago?

Let's tackle the second question first (because that's quirky): Does Houston have the tallest buildings outside NYC and Chi-town? No. By 'official height', Atlanta's BofA Tower and LA's US Bank Tower are both taller than JPMorgan Chase (but not by much).

Now, for the first question: Is Houston the third tallest city? This is basically impossible to ascertain, since it's subject to how you define 'tallest city'. Here are some ways to measure it, but before I do that I'm going to tell you that I'm tired of typing "outside NYC and Chicago" so I'm going to just call this ONYC. Now...

1. Does Houston have the tallest building ONYC? As stated above: No.

2. Does Houston have the most supertalls ONYC? If a 'supertall' is defined as anything over 1,000 feet, then no; Houston has one building over 1,000 feet, JPMorgan Chase. If, on the other hand, a 'supertall' is defined as anything over 300 meters then the answer's yes; Houston has two buildings over 300m tall.

3. Does Houston have the greatest representation ONYC on the list of the 100 tallest buildings in the world? Yes, Houston has three buildings on this list (http://buildingdb.ctbuh.org/). NYC shows up with 7 and Chicago has 8. Dallas has 2 and Philly has 2. LA and Atlanta (the others I mentioned above) have 1 each. Miami does not show up on this list. Note, though, that Houston will not show up on this list if all currently proposed projects worldwide go forward.

4. Is Houston the tallest city by some total measure over its entire skyline? That's hard to judge. There are various measures: points for floors, points for height, points for height-above-a-given-height, etc. Too numerous to mention here. I'm sure by at least one of them Houston is the tallest ONYC, but I'm sure by others it is not.

I hope this helps...

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While I agree that there are plenty ways to measure "tallest city", I don't there's any question that Houston is the 3rd tallest.

Atlanta and LA may each have 1 in the top 10, unlike us... but those 1 buildings each are all they have in the top 25... and they have significantly less in the top 100. By your argument, Chicago could claim the tallest city in the US by virtue of having the single tallest building... I just think you're decreasing the sample size to unusable by sticking at top 10.

And i think setting arbitrary limits and definitions like "supertall" and over 300 meters is exactly that..arbitrary. Ya just need to go by the rankings.

I set my limit at top100 because that's what's available. And maybe my sample size by sticking to top 100 is too small, but unless you can find a top 200, 500, 1000... we work with what we have.

If you were to add up the cumulative heights of every building in the US top 100 and sort by city, this is what you would have.

We are the solid 3rd.


Edited by Highway6
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If you go by avg height of buildings in the Top 100, we do slip to 4th, but we'd actually be higher up than NYC, so I'm not sure how useful a stat that is.



Los Angeles........998


New York City.......958


I found a list that ranks cities by number of buildings over 12 stories where we don't fare as well... but at some point I think that transitions from measuring & comparing heights of a city's skylines to breadth of skyline.

New York City.......5,891


Los Angeles...........505


San Francisco....... 415




Miami...................... 295

Dallas .....................239

Boston ....................229

Arlington .................226


Edited by Highway6
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The above is sort of the point. I'm not sure what it means to be the 'tallest city'. Cities aren't objects; they're agglomerations of objects.

I suppose an argument could be made that the height of a city is the height of its tallest building - in which case Houston is #5 behind NYC, Chicago, LA and Atlanta. But, then again, why stop at buildings? Antennas in the US are significantly taller than buildings by a large margin. The tallest antenna in the US (to my knowledge) is in North Dakota. I suppose that would make that town the tallest in the US.

Personally, I think that 'impressiveness' - which is not really quantifiable but depends on the height of multiple buildings, breadth, and density - is more "important" (not to suggest that any of this is truly important). In this regard, I think Houston is comparable to - but not better than - other cities of its size such as Atlanta or Miami.

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Simbha, tallest cities as in has the most number of buildings above a certain threshold---for example 400 ft and up. That's just an example. Considering that Miami only has 3 buildings in the entire metro Miami area that reach 700' or more (which no building in Florida rises to 800') then Houston has Miami beat by over a dozen buildings or more.

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Simbha, tallest cities as in has the most number of buildings above a certain threshold---for example 400 ft and up. That's just an example. Considering that Miami only has 3 buildings in the entire metro Miami area that reach 700' or more (which no building in Florida rises to 800') then Houston has Miami beat by over a dozen buildings or more.

If your measure is "count of buildings over 700ft," then yes - Houston has it beat (and all other cities besides NYC and Chi). But, my point is simply that there are other measures of 'tallest city'.

By the way, I'm just as proud of our city's 'height' as anyone. I was simply trying to clarify that there are other measures - and that Houston falls short of the #3 position in some of them.

Edit: By the way, here's an interesting thing to look at. Visit SSP and use the diagram search for "Miami, Houston" and choose only those buildings which are completed. The first page of the diagram shows the tallest 25 buildings between the two cities. Houston clearly dominates this diagram - with the top 4 positions and 16 of the 25 in total.

Even with under-construction and proposed buildings, Houston retains 16 of the top 25 positions (although it loses 2 of the top 5 to One Bayfront and Brickell).

Edited by Simbha
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