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World's most impressive skylines
March 22, 2005 11:10 AM   Subscribe

The world's most impressive skylines. If Hong Kong is #1, and Mandaluyong, the Phillipines, is #100, where's your city? (via Bostonia, based in city #43)
posted by barjo (83 comments total)

 
#2 and best in the USA! NYC inna heee-ous!

The best way to see the Manhattan Skyline is from the Whitestone Bridge at sunset. Truly awe-inspiring.
posted by jonmc at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2005


where's your city?

At #43.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2005


Too bad all those pictures look like ass because of the "emporis" stamp that the site puts on them.
posted by afroblanca at 11:17 AM on March 22, 2005


Hmm....doesn't necessarily seem like a good thing.....being higher up the scale...........it is only an index of building encroachment on the skyline isn't it?
Sydney is at 14..........pity we have no 'area'. I think we like to look at the harbour and the bridge and not so much at the buildings. But different cities have different points of visual qualities.
posted by peacay at 11:18 AM on March 22, 2005


We're #4! We're #4!

Jonmc, as much as I love NYC and Manhattan, in my utterly biased opinion, I think Chicago's skyline is the best. There's just something about the combination of all the distinctive buildings and the lake that takes your breath away, especially when you're flying into the city.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:18 AM on March 22, 2005


"Most impressive" skylines. Hardly. Their metric is based on whether there are many high-rises.

*******
Points per Building
12..19 floors = 1 point
20..29 floors = 5 points
30..39 floors = 25 points
40..49 floors = 50 points
50..59 floors = 100 points
60..69 floors = 200 points
70..79 floors = 300 points
80..89 floors = 400 points
90..99 floors = 500 points
100+ floors = 600 points

*******
posted by Gyan at 11:19 AM on March 22, 2005


I enjoyed Chicago's skyline, but I'm familiar with Seattle's more and sentimentally have to go for it .. #37 that is.

Gyan why'd you have to break our bubble?!
At least now I have a reason why dirty, dirty Los Angeles has a higher score than Seattle. Man! That city is butt-ugly!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:23 AM on March 22, 2005


Yeah, the rating system sucks. It's more like most built-up skyline. On their scale my city is 64th, and that is largely because Las Vegas is restricted to a valley!
posted by mystyk at 11:24 AM on March 22, 2005


Back to how cool Chicago is...
I haven't done the math, but I'm guessing if you figure it per person that we'd be #1.
posted by ba at 11:25 AM on March 22, 2005


Too bad all those pictures look like ass because of the "emporis" stamp that the site puts on them.

Not all of them. In fact, this site is packed with great pictures, if you know how to get to them.

1. Click on a city.
2. Click on one of the tiny thumbnails.
3. When picture comes up, click on "All photos of this city".
4. Get stuff like this interesting picture of Kuala Lumpur.
posted by barjo at 11:26 AM on March 22, 2005


Puh, rubbish. Give me the skyline of my home town Oxford any day.
posted by Mwongozi at 11:26 AM on March 22, 2005


Los Angeles is in the Top 20?!?

Ahead of Dallas, Atlanta and San Francisco?!?
(And, on preview, Seattle)

Something here is very very wrong.

(And I'm speaking as a resident of El Lay, the World's Most Famous Sprawl...)
posted by wendell at 11:27 AM on March 22, 2005


Size isn't everything.
posted by crunchland at 11:28 AM on March 22, 2005


From #43:
Boston is now the site of the largest, most ambitious urban excavation project in America to date - the "Big Dig." This endeavor carries an approximately $15 billion price tag, and is a trail-blazing exercise in urban highway restructuring that will stand as an example for other major cities to follow.

Don't Do What Johnny Don't Does! That's an example, right?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:28 AM on March 22, 2005


Pittsburgh in the hizzzouse! #59!
posted by sexymofo at 11:37 AM on March 22, 2005


Wait a second. The city of Beijing is 16,808 km²?? Isn't that like 8 times the size of Rhode Island? I can't really wrap my head around how that can be one city.
posted by billysumday at 11:40 AM on March 22, 2005


I am stunned that Detroit made the Top 100, # 58 no less.

Take that Pittsburgh and Jersey City!
posted by Armen Tanzarian at 11:43 AM on March 22, 2005


I knew HK had a lot of hi-rises, but 114,000 points to NYC's 35,000? I gotta see that someday.
posted by fungible at 11:44 AM on March 22, 2005


No Portland, OR?
posted by dhoyt at 11:51 AM on March 22, 2005


We're number 4! We're number 4!

Take that, Tokyo!
posted by sugarfish at 11:51 AM on March 22, 2005


Hong Kong is one of those places that until you see it the magnitude of it does not sink in. I had dinner at the Peak last Dec. and the picture doesn't begin to convey the actual panorama of the city. The only thing that took away from it was, that because it was early December, most of the buildings had their high tech lighting doing Christmas stuff.
posted by mss at 11:55 AM on March 22, 2005


That being said Shenzhen, on the other hand, is a city of nothing but high rise apartments.
posted by mss at 12:00 PM on March 22, 2005


Wow, Seattle made the list... I have always felt that Seattle's skyline isn't really as impressive as it should be (mostly due to that stupid, stupid building height rule that applies to everywhere but downtown). Then again, I guess the Space Needle counts for... something.
posted by salad spork at 12:01 PM on March 22, 2005


I wonder if the only reason the Atlanta skyline is ranked so highly is because you're forced to stare at it for hours on end in traffic.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:08 PM on March 22, 2005


Mississauga made the list. :/
posted by joelf at 12:11 PM on March 22, 2005


when we moved from Chicago to Detroit, we looked for "downtown" for three whole days. Didn't realize that you had to drive out of the country (Windsor, Ont.) for the best view. Now live in an unranked and unenvious city. And still think fondly of the Chicago skyline.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:11 PM on March 22, 2005


How can Tokyo be ahead of Rio??!!! (surely they're not counting Mt Fuji as "skyline", which is only visible on some clear winter days?)
posted by FieldingGoodney at 12:13 PM on March 22, 2005


That site a terrorist bomber's dream.
posted by afx114 at 12:15 PM on March 22, 2005


forget that....I see their points system....number of floors....I thought it was aesthetics......yeah....I get it..
posted by FieldingGoodney at 12:17 PM on March 22, 2005


hot in at number 63!

Glasgow - home to 50% of the UK's residential tower blocks and oh-so proud of it.
posted by veryape at 12:19 PM on March 22, 2005


Los Angeles is in the Top 20?!?

Behind Honolulu?!? Yike. We've got a few interesting buildings, but most definitely, the number of floors does not "impressive" make. Hong Kong, Shanghai, which I've both seen in person, both take your breath away with their magnitude and - especially in Shanghai's case - color and variety.
posted by pzarquon at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2005


Yeah, the metric is all wrong. The Pittsburgh skyline, especially when emerging from the Ft. Pitt tunnel, is among the best in America. Surely better than Philly or Boston. It's like a huge castle, jutting into the rivers, and with the knots of bridges...oh..oh...it makes me miss that town.
posted by bendybendy at 12:30 PM on March 22, 2005


My old home city of Rotterdam is #71. Quite a feat since all the high rises there are built on a layer of sand under the swampy soil. The base of all those buildings is beneath sea level.

My current city Montreal is not even on the list Because it prohibits buildings to be built higher than it's namesake, 'The Royal Mountain'. It has a nice skyline though, because that exact same mountain, in the middle of the city.
posted by kika at 12:34 PM on March 22, 2005


Well, I live in Laramie, Wyoming, so we're like, what,-about minus three?
posted by Sharktattoo at 12:39 PM on March 22, 2005


The city of Beijing is 16,808 km²?? Isn't that like 8 times the size of Rhode Island?

I just did some adding up, and the 9 counties that (theoretically) make up the chicago metro area add up to 19,553 km². That's exaggerated, because a bunch of that is farmland, but its probably around 16,000 km².
posted by goethean at 12:40 PM on March 22, 2005


Montreal is actually #42. Its buildings don't translate well into a "skyline" though. The best view of the city is heading towards it on the Champlain bridge at night... that's when it looks quite impressive.
posted by clevershark at 12:45 PM on March 22, 2005


I don't really care for sky scrapers myself. I understand that they are impressive in a way and that they are a necessity in a big city, but I don't think that they are usually particularly interesting. I like the skylines of the west coast cities like San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. They have some nice big buildings but those are also complimented by water and hills/mountains. It's the variety that really makes it striking to me.

I'd put my vote in for Portland, partially because I know its skyline best, but also because when you drive in near sunset and you've got the hills to west, the lights of downtown, the sparking bridges over the river and then the gorgeous view of the mountains...it can really take your breath away. Of course the highway is steep and curvy there and that's probably why there are so many accidents with people looking at the view.
posted by afflatus at 12:50 PM on March 22, 2005


What a load of crap. To grade impressive skylines they should invert that list. Having said that this post is misleading as the website isn't calling the skylines impressive, just massively populated and booming. So I'm still calm...
posted by fire&wings at 12:54 PM on March 22, 2005


Bah. NYC should be #1. The HK skyline has no class, no style. It's this futuristic freakshow lightshow right out of Blade Runner. They just threw up a bunch of tall buildings with a bunch of lights. And NYC is definitely more recognizable--that should count for something.

Not that I really care. Because I don't care. That much.
posted by nixerman at 12:55 PM on March 22, 2005


"Most impressive" skylines. Hardly. Their metric is based on whether there are many high-rises.

Yep. Only a list that scores density over aesthetics would have Sao Paolo at #8. And Rio deserves to be up there for the mountains and the beach, not for the buildings.

Still, I'm proud to be in #4, with a view of downtown from my kitchen, no less.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:58 PM on March 22, 2005


I gotta say, New York is beautiful and Tokyo looks like it was created by William Gibson on amphetamines, but Chicago has a relaxed sort of cool that lends itself well to the urban decay, a sort of "yeah, so?" kind of relaxed attitude to it’s occasional dilapidation that makes it look more rugged and world weary and broken in like boxers hands. I’ve never seen another city that pulls off a tall spire uptown act while remaining downtown casual (on a smaller scale maybe Reykjavik, Paris is just too ‘pretty’). Chicago has an urban gothic style while keeping some of it’s neighborhood charm. It has canyoned streets covered by El train tracks without feeling crowded. You get tall buildings and technology without leaving behind the sense your ‘home.’
On the other hand Planet Hollywood and that other joint with the giant frog completely screws up Ohio Street which had a great look coming in off the expressway.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:13 PM on March 22, 2005


Said afx114: That site a terrorist bomber's dream.

Is anything these days not "a terrorist bomber's dream"? A site with a subway map? A list of the tallest buildings in the United States? A picture of David Hasselhoff with puppies? Red Alert! Seal off your safe rooms! Terrorism is hiding in every nook and cranny of our great land!
posted by fandango_matt at 1:23 PM on March 22, 2005


This is sort of OT, but checking out the text of the entry on Minneapolis, my home town, I find a description of the climate that includes the phrase, "enviably low winter temperatures."

OK, that's funny.
posted by Kat Allison at 1:39 PM on March 22, 2005


I must say, one of the major reasons why I think Washington, DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the world is the fact that building height restrictions.

I just can't help but feel claustrophobic when I visit some of these other places.
posted by tittergrrl at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2005


As joalf pointed out, Mississauga is on the list. MISSISSAUGA. All credibility from this list may have held has been lost.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:55 PM on March 22, 2005


Also, "from this list" should be "that this list".
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:56 PM on March 22, 2005


Chicago's skyline is the best. But I'm a bit biased.
posted by me3dia at 1:56 PM on March 22, 2005


Michael Wolf's Hong Kong
posted by trharlan at 2:29 PM on March 22, 2005


The Pittsburgh skyline, especially when emerging from the Ft. Pitt tunnel, is among the best in America:

I think that's because it just feels GOOD to be out of the Ft. Pitt tunnels. God damned if I don't hate driving in this city.

Anyway, yes, HK is truly spectacular when you consider the sheer magnitude of HIGH-rise housing from Lantau Island to Kowloon to Stanley. Just about every populated area is packed with 40+ story residential buildings. Even so, you've got two bird sanctuaries (not to mention a bird market) and a few conservatories right in the middle of Central and The Peak. I love that city.
posted by kcm at 2:32 PM on March 22, 2005


Miami has a perfect skyline for the city. Not very large in area but almost no cookie-cutter rectangles. And at night the glow is beautiful.

... sigh, I miss my hometown.
posted by oddman at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2005


I rather enjoyed Milan because the picture made it look like Colorado, with the mountains and all.
posted by Viomeda at 2:47 PM on March 22, 2005


Go Chicago. There is nothing like flying into that city at night.
posted by Ailla at 2:49 PM on March 22, 2005


Edinburgh, the idea that Glasgow has a more impressive skyline than Edinburgh
is a new one on me i must admit.
I am quite sure the author of this list is extremely well endowed.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:58 PM on March 22, 2005


Gosh I didn't see Kansas City on there. Guess the bartle hall weirdness doesn't count.
posted by damnitkage at 2:59 PM on March 22, 2005


FWIW, my city of residence (Calgary, Alberta) came in at #44, and this view of the skyline, which is one of the best, is about a five-minute walk out my back door to the crest of Scotsman's Hill. When it's clear - and daytime - you can even see the Rockies from there.
posted by gompa at 3:01 PM on March 22, 2005


Any criteria for judging skylines which misses out Edinburgh is seriously flawed. This, this and this show much of what makes me love this city. And I'm from Glasgow, so that's some admission!

on preview: yeah sgt, ya beat me to it.
posted by aisforal at 3:08 PM on March 22, 2005


Peacay: please don't regret the buildings in Sydney Harbor. Or at least allow the Opera House - my favorite building in the whole wide world.
Oregonians: There is a lot to be said for keeping a low profile like Portland. Remember what Governor McCall said.
posted by Cranberry at 3:11 PM on March 22, 2005


Born in 25, live in 80. Hong Kong is definitely beautiful at night, if these photographs are anything to go by.

Yeah, the list totally messed up by putting that suburb of Toronto as its own city. WHAT A CITYSCAPE!
posted by Kleptophoria! at 3:42 PM on March 22, 2005


I can't believe Istanbul is below Toronto. Istanbul has absolutely the most beautiful skyline I've ever seen, and some of the most marvellous technological achievements in the history of architecture.

Toronto's skyline really isn't that much, except when you drive through it on the expressway. That's really nice, no matter how many times you do it. But Missassauga? When do strip malls, a dorky clock tower and a few office blocks constitute a skyline?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:53 PM on March 22, 2005


10 seconds into the list, I did a quick search to see where Bogota ended up, which I remember as the, uh, least memorable skyline of any city I've ever been to. Points scored by Bogota? 666. Coooool.
posted by intermod at 4:01 PM on March 22, 2005


gesamtkunstwerk, I agree with you on Istanbul, I was just wondering what examples you could give of technological achievements. Do you mean modern or historical?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:03 PM on March 22, 2005


Wait a second. The city of Beijing is 16,808 km²?? Isn't that like 8 times the size of Rhode Island? I can't really wrap my head around how that can be one city.

Yep, Beijing is that big. It's unbelievably huge. It just goes on and on and on and on ...

Also, Rhode Island's 1545 square miles = 4,000 square kilometers. You did the math wrong (1.6^2, not just 1.6). So Beijing is only 4 times the size of Rhode Island, or a bit bigger than Connecticut. China is bigger than the US, you know ... slightly by land mass, and enormously by population.
posted by intermod at 4:12 PM on March 22, 2005


As joalf pointed out, Mississauga is on the list. MISSISSAUGA. All credibility from this list may have held has been lost.

Indeed, "yech." I recently had to go to Mississauga on business, and I felt I was stuck in a larger-but-even-duller version of the strip mall areas of New Jersey (it was quite Paramus-y).
posted by clevershark at 4:47 PM on March 22, 2005


Yeehaw, Dallas is #28. I'm surprised Houston is higher, didn't realize it had that many skyscrapers.

I also must protest the fact that the images don't include Reunion Tower, one of the most recognizable buildings in Dallas (together with maybe Bank of America Plaza.
posted by elvolio at 5:04 PM on March 22, 2005


(Fun fact: the aformentioned Bank of America plaza is oft referred to by Dallasites as the "Green Pickle" as well as every possible permutation of "green" and "insert phallic reference here". I had my junior prom on the top floor - what a view!)

That rating system is crap, IMHO. Austin's skyline is a thousand times more beautiful than Tulsa's, but Tulsa made the list (#99) and Austin didn't just because Tulsa has two or three tall, ugly buildings in the otherwise stark skyline.

Then again, I'm sitting on the roof of one of Austin's most beautiful apt. buildings, looking out over the gorgeous sunset across downtown, so I'm a bit biased.
posted by Muffpub at 5:13 PM on March 22, 2005


Another vote for Chicago, by far the most beautiful skyline in the US and perhaps, the world.
posted by o0o0o at 5:31 PM on March 22, 2005


that is the worst metric for "impressive" i've ever seen. it is useless. for example, aventura, florida is ranked above pittsburgh, which i'd put up against any other city.
posted by Shike at 5:34 PM on March 22, 2005


Great post. I'm into geography and I didn't even know Curtiba (#17) existed. BTW, intermod, China is a little smaller than the US.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:37 PM on March 22, 2005


Gotta agree, that metric is screwed. Ranking Mexico City (wasn't that impressive to me) above Monterrey is messed up: El Cerro de la Silla dominates everything around it.

Muffpub: For years I had no idea what the name of BofA Plaza was, we just called it the Green Giant.
posted by elvolio at 6:06 PM on March 22, 2005


Hong Kong will blow you away.

For anyone interested in more photos of Hong Kong, drop by my site and hit the "Dim Sum" link, then select "Photo Albums".

You might be surprised.
posted by bwg at 6:22 PM on March 22, 2005


what, no newark, NJ?

*sulks back to the hood*
posted by Mach5 at 6:28 PM on March 22, 2005


Yay! Toronto made the top 10!

Though including Mississauga as its own entry... peculiar, to say the least.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:55 PM on March 22, 2005


I forgot to mention - I love New York's skyline as well. I haven't seen Chicago's other than in the movies, but I'd love to visit - especially for all those old buildings.
posted by bwg at 7:20 PM on March 22, 2005


No worries, Smedleyman, that Planet Hollywood is now a Gino's East!
posted by foonie at 7:58 PM on March 22, 2005


#1, and I look at that skyline every day.

Hong Kong's also the only place I know where I can walk to work downhill in 20 minutes, or walk 20 minutes uphill and be surrounded by bamboo and and lush green ferns and banana trees with butterfies right out of Disney central casting.
posted by mono blanco at 8:25 PM on March 22, 2005


Cranberry, Sydney's Opera House doesn't even rate as a building with these arbitrary skyline mathematistics. So I don't discount it when I'm cruising across the harbour on a ferry or picnicing at Cremorne Point. It's just the rest of brick and mortar of the city that's not aesthetically overwhelming.
posted by peacay at 9:12 PM on March 22, 2005


There is no way this or this beats this.
posted by PenDevil at 11:59 PM on March 22, 2005


Glad to see HK at the top spot, it would have had my vote for sure. Taking the Star Ferry from Kowloon to the island at night is one of the greatest joys I know.
posted by ttopher at 7:45 AM on March 23, 2005


dirtynumbangelboy: Mississauga is, at last check, still a separate city from Toronto (and it's the 7th largest city in Canada, incidentally). So including it as a separate entry is valid, even though this entire metric is kinda dumb. The reason Mississauga falls into the list? Because the city is CHOCK FULL of high rise apartment buildings. That's really all you need to get a good rating on this list, so it's really kinda ridiculous.
posted by antifuse at 8:08 AM on March 23, 2005


The buildings in Mississauga aren't even that nice. Like the planned condo development which is somehow claiming to be modelled on the peace tower, complete with gargoyles.

At least it isn't as bad as the 2 faux Empire State buildings beside the 2 faux Chrysler buildings at Sheppard and Bayview. Or those condos by the waterfront with the 'sails' on the roof. Or... well... at least the Uptown condos look ok.
posted by maledictory at 8:47 AM on March 23, 2005


Born in #1, live in #25.

I'm surprised that there was no love for Vancouver...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:03 PM on March 23, 2005


Tehran's really not too shabby...
posted by blendor at 9:52 PM on March 23, 2005


Beautiful! My hometowns occupy the number 1 & 2 spots.
posted by culpable at 11:31 AM on April 5, 2005


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