Which World City Has The Most Skyscrapers?


Since the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931 architects and the public at large have been fascinated with the pursuit of building ever higher buildings. While the latest 'tallest' building often garners headlines the sheer number of skyscrapers in existence often gets forgotten.

It should come as no surprise that Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, also has the largest number of skyscrapers - 380. It should also come as no surprise that Chinese cities dominate the top 20 with six entries.

It will surprise many, that Melbourne is ranked above Sydney, with four more buildings classified as skyscrapers.

The majority of international organisations, such as the


Emporis, define a skyscraper as a building that reaches or exceeds the height of 150 metres.

The top 20 cities by number of skyscrapers are:

London rising
While a notable omission from the top 20 (coming in at 44), a new report shows London is quickly becoming one of the most active cities for new tall buildings.

There are now an additional 119 new tall buildings planned for London since this time last year. This takes the total number of tall buildings in the pipeline to 436. The research, which is updated annually, is published by New London Architecture (NLA) and GLHearn (part of Capita Real Estate) and includes buildings of 20 floors and over.

  • The research shows that since last year, the number of tall buildings that are under construction has increased from 70 to 89
  • A total of 233 tall buildings in London have planning approval but are yet to start on site and a further 114 towers are either in planning or at pre-application stage
  • 94 tall buildings were submitted for planning since this time last year, up from 72 in the previous year. Of these 43 were approved in the same year, albeit 32 of these form part of the Greenwich Peninsula scheme, which has been developed through the planning system over a number of years. Three were refused and the rest await planning approval.
  • A significant number of the tall buildings planned form parts of wider masterplans, which arrange multiple towers in clusters.
How London's skyline will look from St Paul's Cathedral towards The City. Source: Visualhouse and Dan Lowe[/caption]The completion of tall buildings in the capital is still relatively small with only 19 tall buildings completed over the last year, up from 6 in the 2015 report, indicating that whilst there are a large number of tall buildings in the pipeline, a relatively small proportion are currently being delivered.

The average height of London’s new tall buildings is approximately 30 storeys, with 60% of the tall buildings reaching between 20 and 29 storeys. Only 8 tall buildings reach 60 or more storeys. City Pride in Tower Hamlets will become the capital's tallest residential tall building at 75 floors. The trend towards residential tall buildings continues unabated, with 73% of the proposed tall buildings designed primarily for living accommodation.

The collaboration between NLA, GL Hearn and EGi marks a more extensive look into the current tall building development in London, which has seen fierce debate both within the industry and the wider public.

Chairman of New London Architecture, Peter Murray, encourages a greater interaction between the public and the planning system, saying: “We believe that well designed tall buildings in the right place, and well coordinated clusters, are acceptable. It is increasingly important that the planning and development community improves the way it communicates with the wider public.

"However, with the much publicised softening of the housing market, it remains to be seen how quickly they are delivered.”

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