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7 Cities with the Most Skyscrapers (with Pictures)


As populations grow and economies expand, the only direction for most cities is up. Skyscraper construction continues in the world’s busiest locales, and while the soaring heights are impressive, the rapid pace at which they add these behemoth buildings is genuinely astonishing.

Skyscrapers are generally defined as buildings with at least 40 floors and 150 meters in height. Building one is no small feat, but more than 100 continue to go up each year. As a result, the list of cities with the most skyscrapers is constantly changing. Let’s look at which places are leading the pack today.

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The 7 Cities with the Most Skyscrapers

1. Hong Kong, China

hongkong city view
Image By: Ruslan Bardash, Unsplash
Total Skyscrapers 546
Tallest Building International Commerce Centre (1,588’)
Population 7.6 million

Hong Kong’s first skyscraper was the pegboard-like Jardine House, rising a relatively modest 585 feet when construction ended in 1972. Today, China’s unofficial melting pot is the official most skyscraper-laden city in the world, with 546 completed structures over 150 meters (~492 feet) tall.

With limited land, skyscrapers became essential to offer enough housing and offices for Hong Kong’s exploding population. Apartments, shopping centers, and offices are all suitable uses for Hong Kong’s dense cluster of high-rises. They still can’t go up fast enough, as the city already has over 2,300 buildings rising more than 100 meters (328 feet) tall.

2. Shenzhen

Shenzhen West at dust
Shenzhen West at dust (Image Credit: Charlie fong, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International)
Total Skyscrapers 351
Tallest Building Ping An Finance Center (1,956’)
Population 12.8 million

Shenzhen’s growth over the past several decades is incredible, as the once small fishing community now surpasses Hong Kong as a business center and urban residential area. The port city on China’s southeast coast has unique geographical advantages, and with intense governmental and overseas investment, its commercial success exploded.

The city’s astonishing emergence is best encapsulated in its skyscrapers, highlighted by the Ping An Finance Center, completed in 2017. The 115-floor modern tower is the fifth tallest skyscraper in the world and boasts the third-highest observation deck.

3. New York

New york
Image Credit: Leonhard_Niederwimmer, Pixabay
Total Skyscrapers 303
Tallest Building One World Trade Center (1,776’)
Population 8.4 million

The Big Apple has been a global economic hub for generations. While many don’t compare to the world’s newest supertall buildings in scale, its buildings are some of the most iconic in America and abroad.

New York’s first 150-meter skyscraper, the Metropolitan Life Tower, arose in 1909, and the 1,250-foot Empire State Building entered 22 years later. Today, the One World Trade Center building is the city’s tallest, standing at a symbolic 1,776 feet tall.

4. Dubai

Dubai United Arab Emirates
Image Credit: ZQ Lee, Unsplash
Total Skyscrapers 241
Tallest Building Burj Khalifa (2,717’)
Population 3.3 million

Known as a global hotbed of wealth, luxury, and modernity, Dubai features skyscrapers as extravagant as the lifestyles it inspires. The most populated city in the UAE has numerous one-of-a-kind sights, from the towering minarets of the Grand Mosque to the indoor zoo at the Dubai Mall. Still, none is more impressive than the Burj Khalifa. The 163-floor building, completed in 2010, is the tallest constructed structure in history.

5. Shanghai

Image Credit: Sean Sheng, Pixabay
Total Skyscrapers 180
Tallest Building Shanghai Tower (2,073’)
Population 26.3 million

Shanghai is a popular tourist destination for its historical landmarks and modern wonders. China’s most populated city, affectionately deemed the Paris of the East, offers a glorious blend of eastern and western cultures. Its skyscrapers include some of the country’s most fascinating architectural elements, including the Shanghai World Finance Center’s trapezoidal opening and the spiraling form of the Shanghai Tower, the second-tallest building in the world.

6. Guangzhou

Guangzhou skyline
Guangzhou skyline (Image Credit: jo.sau, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Total Skyscrapers 175
Tallest Building Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre (1,739’)
Population 15.3 million

The former Chinese capital earns adoration for its cuisine and year-round warm weather, allowing for the abundant flowers that draw international interest. As one of China’s most critical trading ports, manufacturing sites, and gateways to the country, it also earns plenty of enduring economic interest, garnering a GDP that outmatches South Korea and many other small countries.

The growth has to a modern cityscape defined by soaring structures. Interestingly, the city’s tallest building, the Guangzhou CFT Finance Center (7th tallest skyscraper on earth), is not its tallest structure. Canton tower, a unique structure almost resembling a Chinese finger trap, stands 1,968 feet tall, acting as the city’s tallest TV tower and vantage point for tourist’s wanting a bird’s eye view of Guangzhou.

7. Tokyo

Tokyo City
Image By: Yellowmagics9, Pixabay
Total Skyscrapers 167
Tallest Building Toranomon Hills (838’)
Population 13.5 million

Though skyscrapers are relatively new to the landscape, Tokyo’s growth in the 1960s and 1970s spurred a construction flurry that necessitated taller and taller structures. The 1980s saw rapid construction to form Tokyo’s business districts, while the 2000s saw another skyscraper renaissance as older districts underwent redevelopment.

The construction explosion has eased a bit, but Tokyo continues growing upward. Although the city’s Toranomon Hills, which opened in 2014 and is 838 feet tall, several towers make grander statements in the Tokyo skyline.

The iconic, 1,092-foot-tall Tokyo Tower is one of its most recognizable features, and the Tokyo Skytree, completed in 2012, stole the title of the world’s tallest tower from Guangzhou’s Canton tower. A new skyscraper, the Torch Tower, will be Japan’s tallest building at 1,280 feet upon its completion in 2027.

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How Fast Do Cities Build Skyscrapers?

Building a skyscraper involves a rigorous process of selecting a site, designing the structure, excavating, building, and testing. Quality control is critical, and each stage can take considerable time before moving on. During construction, the logistics of moving materials to and within the site also add to the schedule.

With structures growing taller and more architecturally extravagant every year, it’s no surprise that the average skyscraper takes several years to finish. The Burj Khalifa took five years to complete, which is relatively quick compared to the world’s other tallest skyscrapers.

Some skyscrapers defied the conventional process, allowing construction to finish in short order. The Empire State Building notably only took about 13 months to finish. In Changsha, China, the J-57 Mini Sky City took only 19 days to build! The 57-story skyscraper was erected in a modular fashion, with components built off-site allowing for rapid assembly.

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Skyscrapers are sources of pride for some cities and unavoidable necessities in others. As populations grow alongside business demands, skyscrapers will continue to appear in the world’s busiest cities, overtaking urban sprawls and redefining residential life in the modern age.

Featured Image Credit: serbuxarev, Pixabay


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