High-rise (again): If it needs an elevator, don’t build it.

The discussion keeps coming back: high-rise buildings or not. Cities and towns can’t resist falling in love with high towers.that is, the project developers and politicians. Last year I had the opportunity to explain to a council committee in Utrecht and to a mixed political audience in Eindhoven what is wrong with high-rise buildings. Apparently without much result, the fat fingers against climate and sustainability continue to grow, so to say.

I will summarize it one more time: If it needs an elevator, don’t!
Not that an elevator is not occasionally allowed, such as for elderly housing, but if any building cannot do without one, then don’t. I have already listed the many arguments why high-rise buildings are not convenient and much more environmentally damaging than other forms of construction.See here [1].
And no, the density argument is not correct either. High rise does not give a profit over lowrise living environments.And certainly not in the Netherlands, with villages like Eindhoven with 2800 inhabitants per m2 km. The Paris inner city , all low-rise, has 22000 km2. If we all lived like in Paris inner city, the whole world population would fit in 2/3 of France. Not that we should pursue that, but just for your reference.

And No, high-rise buildings in timber dont overcome the environmental issues. Up to 4 layers is fine in timber frame construction, even in prefab straw frame construction ( Strotec/ecococon). Above that impacts increase as well, in operational and embodied energy, and requires much more wood per m2, in the form of CLT for example.
Politicians and project developers now try to sell high rise with some trees stuck to it. That looks nice and green, but is pure nonsense and misguiding framing: As I calculated for the tower in Eindhoven: Balconies of 10 tons each (!) , good for 2500 CO2, for a tree that never grows mature and fixes just a few kg CO2 per year. [2] A 100-1000 times more wasted.
High-rise buildings are a financial revenue model, not a sustainability model, nor a social model. Even with elderly housing, one might question the need for elevators: What if we mix socially, and reserve the first level (ground floor) for the elderly, the second level for families, the hird for young people and the fourth floor for students ? Also with regard to integration and social care a much better model.

And yes, see the energy sector struggling with the transition to electricity. Things are about to collapse, as they themselves announce. Well, if the power goes out, fortunately there’s always the stairs.

As was experienced in New York, after Hurricane Sandy. In the neighborhood Red Hook, Brooklyn they were stuck for weeks with no power, no light, no elevator, trapped in buildings 15-20 stories high. And water didn’t get higher than the 5th floor, either.[3]

High-rise buildings are a dead end. Figuratively, and Literally!

PS 2 posters below as a bonus to reassure those interested.

[1] https://www.ronaldrovers.com/how-to-avoid-highrise-buildings/
[2] https://www.linkedin.com/posts/roversronald_bullshit-products-2nd-season-episodes-11-activity-7135623243322855424-XRrQ
[3] from: Extreme Cities, Ashley Dawson

Author: ronald rovers