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High density does not mean high buildings

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Lord Rogers energetically attempts to distance himself from the school of thought which believes civilisation/democracy/urbanity/London will collapse if we do not build tall buildings as though there were no tomorrow. However, he falls into the trap of asserting that we must build tall to achieve high densities.

Architectural Research Quarterly (vol 4, no 4 - I am sure RRP has it in the library), as part of its appraisal of Leslie Martin, reprints Martin's article of 1972, 'The Grid as Generator', in which he shows that this is a complete fallacy, and that high densities can be achieved with quite low buildings and provide generous open space at the same time. It may occasionally be justified to build tall buildings to improve the skyline; it is more likely that the driving force, as much now as in the days of the tower of Babel, is vanity.

By the way, Louis Hellman and other readers interested in the architectural/engineering aspects of the World Trade Center collapse might like to look at the New Scientist website at www. newscientist. com/news, or the New Civil Engineer's site at nceplus. co. uk, the sister site to ajplus. co. uk.

Alan Kennedy, London SW12

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