The Latest Generation of Towers: Tall, Slender and Mostly Residential

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On October 1, 2015, REBNY moderated a roundtable discussion with an architect, zoning consultant, architectural historian, environmental scientist and an urban planner (see biographies on p. 4) to talk about the tall, slender, mostly residential towers that have recently been the subject of much discussion by community groups and elected officials. 

These experts agreed to participate in this discussion because they thought that the criticism directed against these latest generation of towers ignored the history of development and zoning in New York, overlooked the zoning rules that applied to the building of towers, dismissed the economic benefits from these projects, and was in many instances misleading. 

The discussion was engaging, and it continued through a series of emails as the participants sought to clarify points made during the roundtable discussion. The discussion has been organized here in a question and answer format to enable the reader to better understand the points being made about the latest generation of towers and the responses to some of the criticism. In addition, we have included examples and illustrations within the question and answer format to illuminate certain points. 

This document is intended as a clear and objective discussion of the issues surrounding the latest generation of towers in a way that is beneficial to the public, the press, as well as government and elected officials.