Skylines named after cities

Skylines named after cities

One time when walking through a large shopping center in Hong Kong I was trying to find an exit but couldn’t. The main problem was that I couldn’t figure out what level constituted as ground floor. This is besides the issue of knowing whether Hong Kong uses the number 0 or 1 for these purposes. The biggest confusion is caused by in Hong Kong buildings having more than one street level as roads and sidewalks (called walkways) are routinely being built above ground level. This product of a super-dense urban context can be referred to as Hong Kongism, and it is also expressed through multi-level restaurant buildings, and the typical Hong Kong phenomena of powerblocks and skywalls. It’s very much an expression of a extreme vertical context. (see featured image)

Hong Kongism isn’t officially defined as such, but there are a number of cities which have a skyline that is a vernacular of the local context. These cities are also home to endogenous types of skyscrapers.

Like Hong Kong, Vancouver uses the multiple-use towerblock model, but in Vancouver there is much more emphasis on street level usage and creating vibrant street life. Vancouverizing is used in reference to skyscraper development based around natural settings and livability. Vancouver is home of the cityscaper.


Being the capital and seat of government of Belgium since 1830, Brussels gained importance after World War-II as a center of the EU and NATO. During this time the city was one of the first in Europe to embrace the modern high-rise buildings in the name of progress and modernization. Catered by a lack of zoning regulations and a laissez-faire approach to city planning, many historical buildings in the inner city and surrounding neighbourhoods were razed and replaced by character-poor tower blocks, especially around Brussels-North railway station. Brusselization represents haphazard and reckless skyscraper development. Even though the term Montparnassed has a French origin, it applies to Brussels in a good number of ways.


Dubaization means what it you think it means: spectacular, non-contextual skyscraper development. Dubaization captures the exuberant development of one iconic skyscraper after another, deflating the meaning of the iconic while at it. The term is being used to capture the rapid development of Middle Eastern cities. As unbridled as skyscraper development may appear, contrary to Brusselization there definitely is a plan behind the development, usually as a collective of themed zones which often contain a skycatcher or a landmark to embody them.


The contemporary definition of manhattanization largely deals with the image of a skyscraper city, mostly happening in areas within the city that offer the physical space to do so. As such, Manhattanization outside Manhattan is not a product of existing density, but of urban desire. The ‘aspiring to be’ is reflected in some of the nicknames given to such skyscraper cities, such as Mainhattan for Frankfurt, Sanhattan for Santiago de Chile, Manhattan on the Maas for Rotterdam and Mecca-hattan for Mecca.

sanhattanSanhattan (Santiago de Chile). source: Gonzalo Baeza at Wikipedia

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