Ali, Mir (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Aksamija, Ajla (Tech Lab, Perkins+Will), (2008). "Toward a Better Urban Life: Integration of Cities and Tall Buildings", The 4th Architectural Conference on High Rise Buildings, Amman, Jordan, June 9-11 (invited keynote paper).
According to the 2006 UN-HABITAT Annual Report, about 93 percent of global urban growth will occur in Asia and Africa. The process of rapid urbanization is most prevalent where governments are already striving to improve their citizens' quality of life. The demands for rapid expansion and restructuring of cities often results in poor quality, speedy construction and the short-term return on investments over livability and a better urban life. In this context, the goal of architects and urban planners should be to create a city that is thriving, vibrant and healthy.
The purpose of this paper is to emphasize that the establishment of well-planned cities containing tall buildings at appropriate locations and their infrastructures will help reduce the demands placed on natural resources and create an enjoyable living environment. Integrating the city with its high-rises requires a collaborative methodology that stresses knowledge transfer and integration in the development of a holistic design. Only though the proper integration of cities and their tall buildings, the collective performance of both can be optimized, which will lead to improved air quality, resource conservation, waste reduction, lower operating costs, less strain on local infrastructure, and above all an improved urban life. Case studies are presented to illustrate the concepts.