Daniel Safarik
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Chicago

It is becoming increasingly accepted that greater urban density is required to achieve more sustainable patterns of life, in order to reduce energy consumption and thus combat climate change. The concentration of people in denser cities—sharing space, infrastructure, and facilities—offers much greater energy efficiency than the expanded horizontal city, which requires more land usage as well as higher energy expenditure to facilitate infrastructure and mobility. However, the full implications of this push to greater density, especially vertical density, are not fully understood. As the world population continues to urbanize, the need for urban amenities becomes amplified; cities must increasingly buffer or compensate for an expanding urban population.

The interiors of tall buildings provide an extraordinary opportunity to create habitable, communal space in increasingly dense and vertical cities. Although skyscrapers are typically celebrated for their visual impact on the skyline, or as places to view the city, the quality of their interior spaces needs to be more strongly considered. This is especially the case as, with climate change, the outdoors become less habitable for longer portions of the year. Keyed to themes presented in the CTBUH Technical Guide "The Space Within: Skyspaces in Tall Buildings," this presentation analyzes how means of approach to urban habitat within tall buildings, highlighting case studies of large, multi-floor communal spaces at height, in locations around the world, in a broad mix of building functions, in different climates, and at different scales – to help attendees understand the ingredients that make them successful, or the lack of ingredients that hold them back from their full potential.