Vertigo

The Government is launching a £7.2m study into the health impacts of living and working in skyscrapers. The commission to the universities of Bath and Exeter has been prompted by concerns over the psychological impact of small vibrations and movement on some people.  The world’s tallest towers can sway more than a metre in strong winds. Whereas this is imperceptible to most, it is also thought to cause mood swings and listlessness. Densification is largely inevitable, and in many respects desirable (reduced commute times, greater social interactions, sustainable and efficient use of resources). The challenge ahead is for the ergonomic approach to planning and building design to keep pace with the rate of population growth in our big cities (ave: 3.4%, London: 5.7%, Bristol 4.5%). Alternatives to high rise are an important part of this jigsaw.