London Is Building 230 New Towers and 80 Percent of Them Are Housing

It seems like every big city is facing a major housing crisis. But things are looking up in London: not only is the city planning an astounding 230 new towers that will fundamentally change the skyline, but an impressive 80 percent of those towers will be residential.

A survey by GL Hearn for New London Architecture yielded some amazing data: 236 buildings over 20 stories are planned for the city, with two-thirds of those structures already approved or under construction. 22 of those buildings will be 50 stories or more—so, for some perspective, consider this: the Shard towers over the city at 87 stories, but all of London's other tallest buildings are 50 stories or less. That's gonna be a dramatic shift for the skyline.

But here's the best news: 189 of the high-rises will be residential, which will hopefully help ease housing costs. It doesn't say whether or not the housing is affordable, but any housing is good housing in the notoriously expensive city. Related: A story from Guardian Cities on how rising property values are driving out creatives in "Silicon Roundabout."

This sounded like an unusually high number of towers for a single city to be planning, so I reached out to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which releases an annual tall building report. Although editor Daniel Safarik hasn't seen the full report yet, he did say that it's fairly rare for such studies to be issued—and that the numbers sound a little high. "They're looking at everything 20 stories and higher, which would tend to fall a bit below our radar, which we don't advertise as being accurate below 100 meters—or about 28-30 stories, depending on floor-to-floor heights," he says. "We list only 73 visionary, proposed, under-construction and 'topped-out' tall buildings in London at this time. I would be quite interested to see what their methodology was."

What Safarik also did for me was use CTBUH's methodology to compare London's building boom with that of New York City, where CTBUH shows 181 proposed, under-construction, topped-out, and visionary skyscrapers for the city. Curious about other cities? You can play around with CTBUH's Tall Building Database, which lets you slice and dice data on every skyscraper ever built or proposed on the planet.

An exhibition featuring the results of the London study will open on April 2. [London's Growing Up!]

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