The first high rise buildings were constructed in New York City in the 1880s. A growing population and a dwindling supply of space meant that the cost of real estate was sky rocketing. This lead to the need to build up, rather than out. In the early days of high rise buildings, their primary use was strictly for office space, as most people lived in the suburbs and commuted into the bigger cities. As time passed, however, people began to move to the big cities, thus the purpose of these tall buildings changed from being strictly office space to residents as well. The invention of the elevator is what allowed high rises to turn into skyscrapers. High rises provide ample space when space is at a premium. In recent decades, however, many of the skyscrapers that have been erected have been built in the race to have the tallest building in the world.
This episode from “Informed”, with your host Rob Lowe, is sure to be an informative look into the history and future of high rises. “Informed” is an educational series that is produced and provided for Public Television PBS Member stations.