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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 Introduction
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Introduction
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To many people, New York is defined as a skyscraper city, and indeed the skyscraper is a really important part of what New York is all about. New York has many streets lined densely with skyscrapers, but the skyscraper did not come out of nowhere. The skyscraper is a result of New York's importance as a major commercial center, an importance that begins with the seventeenth century—with the Dutch settlement—and expands, especially in the nineteenth century, as New York becomes the most important commercial center in North America. And with the growth of commerce comes the construction of commercial buildings, first small buildings and then, as technology permitted, as land values rose, and as the demands of business increased, more and more tall buildings are built until New York becomes the quintessential skyscraper city.

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