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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
image Living Together Explosion of Apartment Houses
Technology's Impact
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Explosion of Apartment Houses
Technology's Impact
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In around 1900 the construction of middle- and upper-middle-class apartment houses really begins to explode, and this is largely a result of the electrification of neighborhoods because once electricity was available, it was much cheaper to have elevators because electric elevators ran more efficiently and were cheaper to both build and run than hydraulic elevators. So electricity has a tremendous impact on the development of the apartment house.

Also, by 1900 as the subway is beginning to be constructed in a number of New York neighborhoods (the subway opens in 1904), land values rose enormously. And in places like the Upper West Side once the subway is announced, land values skyrocket, and much of the land, especially on and near Broadway or on expensive avenues like Riverside Drive and Central Park West, which are opposite parks, become too expensive for low-rise construction. And a large number of apartment houses begin to appear.

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