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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
image The Birth of the Skyscraper Conclusion
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Why were these buildings suddenly getting bigger and who was actually occupying them? The answer is that there was this huge social change in the office world in the early twentieth century. The need for office workers was expanding at a spectacular rate as businesses like banking, insurance, and law firms hired more people, not only the partners at these firms but huge numbers of office workers too. Both men and women were being hired and so they needed more space.

In addition to the large businesses, there were many smaller support businesses that rented small offices in these speculative office buildings. But the number of these businesses expanded enormously. If business had not been expanding, this skyscraper development would never have occurred because these are money generators. The builders of these skyscrapers wanted to make a profit and they had to know that there was an office market out there to rent the space, because if there was no office market, what was the point of investing money in constructing such a large building if it was just going to remain vacant? So it was the expansion of the office market that went hand in hand with the expansion of the skyscraper.

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