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Global crisis stops skyscraper construction
Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road May 9, 2009

Global economic crisis strikes negative impact on construction works and city developments in many cities of the planet. Skyscrapers (especially supertalls) suffers the most - because they are the most expensive development projects.

Dubai's dream to create a business and entertainment oasis in the middle of a desert can vanish as a mirage, Latvian daily newspaper "Diena" reports. Many of city's magnificent projects have been stopped - more than 50 % of construction sites are on hold. The kilometer-tall Nakheel Tower is one of them. Dubai experienced incredible growth because of massive borrowing (total debt reaches 80 bln USD) and the development of real estate market, tourism, commerce and finance sector. All these industries has incured losses due to global crisis. Moreover, the price of oil has dropped from 140 USD/barrel in last year to 40 USD today and that makes the situation even worse. Short time ago it was the world's most perspective future city and largest construction field, but now Dubai starts to become a ghost city. Tens of thousands of guest workers (they makes up to 80 % of Dubai population) leaves the place. Dubai is still constructing the world's tallest building - Burj Dubai, but the end of the Arabian dream is near.

Other major cities aren't in much better situation. In Chicago, work has stopped at the planned 150-stories and 610 metres high Chicago Spire which was supposed to be finished by 2012 when it would be tallest building in Western Hemisphere and 6th tallest of the world. But after digging a 76-foot-deep (23 m) hole and sinking caissons, construction on the twisting Spire -- inspired, its famed architect Santiago Calatrava said, by swirling smoke from a Native American campfire -- was stalled in January by the credit crisis that is stifling construction worldwide, Reuters reports.

The global crisis has forced to halt some constructions in Moscow too. The Russian capital, which started to build a great skyscraper cluster in previous years, has stopped the construction of it's main pride - planned 612 m high Russia Tower. Even more - developers plans to seriously reduce it's height - by 200 or even 400 metres (in that case it wouldn't be supertall anymore). However, there are still another 5 supertalls U/C in Moscow at the moment.

Globally, work has been halted on 142, or 11 percent, of 1,324 skyscraper projects, including 29 of 301 U.S. projects, according to Emporis GmbH, a German company that tracks development. Work is stalled on the five tallest buildings on five continents. Only country which seems to cope with the situation and continues to develop impressive projects, is China. Many skyscrapers are under construction in Beijing, Shanghai and other megacities of China, China Daily reports. The leader in it's reaches to sky is Shanghai, where construction works of 632 m high and 2.2 bln USD worth Shanghai tower are on-going.

 In the picture: Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, picture by Wikimedia Commons

© Ikars Kublins (e-mail: ikarskublins@gmail.com)