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June 2011

Presenting “The Shard,” London’s new world-class skyscraper – “a city in the sky!” – by the ever cutting-edge maestro Renzo Piano.

The shar London – on Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month June 2011

Presenting “The Shard,” London’s new world-class skyscraper – “a city in the sky!” – by the ever cutting-edge maestro Renzo Piano. Now, I happen to hold the view that an epidemic of skyscraper construction is an excellent predictor of financial catastrophe – not necessarily just for the developer, but for an entire society – in this case for the global economy. The world has seen a spate of super-gigantic skyscrapers go up in the past decade, including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (world’s tallest building) and a score of competitors. It is one of the best earmarks of irrational exuberance, now primed for an epic depressionary unwind. Don’t overlook the tragic essence of these buildings, which is that they have no future. They will never be renovated in the capital-and-resource scarce era that we are about to enter. The Shard itself – which, by the way, is now its official name – may not even get through one generation of use, since England is absolutely broke on its ass, with few remaining energy resources, living on the table-scraps of empire. 

     Stiff upper lip, chaps! And gird your loins.

     Thanks to correspondent “Scylla in London!”

The Shard chart of comparative size from Kunstler's eyesore of the month June 2011


About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

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