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Washington D.C.: Not the Only "Short" American City

On account of this Federal Shutdown, which is still not over, the discussion on whether or not to adjust the Height Act has ground to a halt. While the Height Act may be unique to Washington D.C., the debate over whether to build taller and higher towers really isn't. It turns out Boston and Los Angeles have their own controversies regarding tall buildings, if not restrictive legislature. Let's compare.

Washington D.C.: For those who have not read this handy primer, let's review: The D.C. Office of Planning (OP) and the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) have been studying the Height Act and together must come up with a decision on whether to alter the current caps on building height. NCPC believes that building higher would change the character of the city too much, block views of the monuments and make the streets too dark. OP believes that these concerns, while important are not more important than building places to live for D.C.'s expanding population.

Boston: The city of Boston has recently approved not one but three residential towers that exceed 600 feet. That's pretty high! Still, it seems that these tall buildings are not the norm. While the city may not have legislation regarding building heights throughout the city there are still zoning laws for individual tracts of land that cap building heights at 115 feet. Some of the complaints about the large towers in Boston? That they will create wind tunnels and block out the sun. This all sounds very familiar.

Los Angeles: LA has some skyscraper clusters but the city isn't known for its height. There are loads of planned developments in their downtown area that range between 20-70 stories which may or may not come to fruition. Much like here, there are plenty of "Don't turn our city into New York!" comments from residents. However, the bigger obstacle in the way of finishing these projects seems to be neither neighborhood activism nor restrictive legislature but rather residual blowback from the recession.
· Boston's Tallest Residential Tower! A Trend Is Bucked [Curbed Boston]
· 1350 Boylston and the Battle for Building Boston [Curbed Boston]
· Mapping 25 In-the-Works Buildings Set to Alter LA's Skyline [Curbed LA]
· OP vs. NCPC: A Look at Opposing Revisions to the Height Act [CDC]