China Bans Super-Tall Buildings in Small Cities

Country is cracking down on 'vanity projects'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2021 7:32 AM CDT
China Cracks Down on 'Vanity Project' Skyscrapers
The Shenzhen skyline.   (Getty Images/bingfengwu)

China is cracking down on skyscrapers—especially tall ones in small cities. As part of a wider bid to restrict what authorities call "vanity projects" and "ugly architecture," authorities have said cities with populations below 3 million will not be allowed to build high-rises taller than 492 feet without a special exemption, and skyscrapers taller than 820 feet will not be allowed in those cities under any circumstances, the BBC reports. Under regulations introduced in July, skyscrapers taller than 820 feet are allowed in larger cities under some circumstances, but anything taller than 1,640 feet is banned. The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall. China's tallest building, the 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower, was completed in 2014.

Chinese regulators say there's no real need for low-density cities to build skyscrapers, which they call a "waste of resources," the Guardian reports. Regulators have also expressed concerns about whether fire and rescue services in smaller cities are capable of dealing with high-rise emergencies. Under the regulations announced by China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on Tuesday, local governments will be required to inspect existing super-tall buildings for earthquake resistance, among other factors, CNN reports. The ban on buildings over 1,640 feet was introduced after shaking forced a skyscraper in Shenzhen to close earlier this year. (Read more China stories.)

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