Published in «Russian Journal of Housing Research»1 / 2019
DOI: 10.18334/zhs.6.1.40471

The impact of high-rise buildings on the city and the urban environment

Smirnov Oleg Olegovich, Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia

Влияние высотной застройки на город и городскую среду - View in Russian

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High-rise buildings appear to be economically complex systems. If the location of offices can bring a stable rental income that pays for the building's maintenance needs, then the city’s support for high-rise housing is not able to cover all the costs of operation.

High-rise’s problems hinder the establishment of sustainable social relations. People living in multi-storey residential areas are exposed to an unfavorable and aggressive environment. A socially unfavorable city contributes to the separation of residents, the emergence of dissatisfaction and crime, and an impersonal environment contributes to the education of depressed and negative-minded people.
High-rise buildings can adversely affect the environment by the quality of urban air and by producing wastes. Of course, multi-storey buildings are only part of the complex of environmental challenges that a city may encounter, therefore the problems associated with over-height occupy only a small fraction of their total number.
High-rise construction is expedient in those situations when it is located in prosperous areas, oriented to wealthy people, spacious, and the residents themselves chose this type of housing from other alternatives (personal house, low-rise buildings, etc.).

The article analyzes the aspects of high-rise buildings` impact on the urban environment. The relevance of the study is dictated by the current situation of the mass filling of urban space with multi-storey buildings, which obliges us to take into account modern objective data on the impact of the residential high-rise on the city and its territory. The aim of the study is to systematize and analyze current regulations on the impact of high-rise buildings on the urban environment. The basis of the work is the foreign sources. The information obtained in them is conditionally divided into three types of consequences: economic, social and environmental. In sum, they are forming those negative influences that a city may encounter when resorting to inefficient spatial solutions. In parallel with this, the text mentions factors that do not depend on the height of the building, and also presents the advantages of high-rise buildings. Such a contrast made it possible to formulate a conclusion about the feasibility of high-rise building in situations of high-quality environmental control. The research results reveal the need for a special approach to the design of urban formations. The application of the conclusions presented in the article is possible in the theory and practice of urban planning in the creating of future residential areas.


construction and operation, high-rise buildings, multi-storey buildings, residential development, urban environment

JEL-Classification: O18, R00, R22

Smirnov O.O. (2019). The impact of high-rise buildings on the city and the urban environment [Vliyanie vysotnoy zastroyki na gorod i gorodskuyu sredu]. Russian Journal of Housing Research, 6(1). (in Russian). – doi: 10.18334/zhs.6.1.40471.

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