For most of their history, cities have tended to be dense, with tall buildings a key feature. The attacks of 9/11 struck at the notion that density and tall buildings are desirable. In the wake of the attacks, it seemed that terrorism spelled the end of the skyscraper. But density is a necessary feature of the twenty-first century. This article argues that density is possible without extremely tall buildings, and challenges some common misconceptions—that horizontal development is more or less incompatible with density; that horizontal development can happen only at ground level; that vertical development means “going up,” whereas it can also mean “going down;” and finally, that tall, high-density buildings mean dead public space at ground-level.
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