The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Build Them Up, Knock them Down

According to a recent report by Barcley’s Capital, there has been a “unhealthy correlation” between the building of skyscrapers and subsequent economic collapse. Building bubbles, according to the report, occur at times of easy credit, high land prices and inflated optimism. These conditions, unfortunately, appear not  to continue for the period of time needed to finish construction and these monuments to wealth and hubris have historically ended-up towering over ruined economies as a jarring reminder of good-times now gone. The report does not suggest that the building of such towers is the cause of the following economic woes and indeed seems to suggest that they are more of a symptom of short-sightedness. To my mind the connection is tenuous at best because people will always celebrate wealth with such constructions even though wealth routinely disappears shortly after it reaches a level worth celebrating.

The correlation diminishes further when you  consider that Sky Tree in Tokyo, (above) which is very near completion now and is the tallest tower in the world, has been built during a twenty year economic slump. If the report is right Japan can now expect to see even more finacial hardships yet it is hard to see how the Japanese economy could get worse.

Of course the Yen is strong now, hurting exports and the aging demographics and shrinking population are seriously going to affect the long-term future of industries and society in this country so it is possible. The last great, over-confident tower the Japanese built in Tokyo: the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building or TMG (see archive of images of the TMG here) was finished in 1991 just as the bubble burst, so you never know, it could happen again.

Let’s hope not though as I do love skyscrapers as I said before .

Basically this was just an excuse to link stock images of Tokyo Sky Ttree from my archive but does make you think a bit.

Later Damon


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