The skyline of Manhattan, and the experience that building clustering has on the ground, elicits varied reactions. For skyscraper fanatics and lovers of big cities, walking through the urban canyons of New York City can feel like a utopian dream. For opponents of high-density development, living in a crowded and growing metropolis could alternatively seem like a nightmare. As a trailblazer of skyscraper development, Manhattan has amassed a huge swath of buildings, and it's widely considered to have one of the most impressive skylines in the world.

Manhattan's thick forest of skyscrapers, image by Flickr user Marianne Bevis via Creative Commons

The cityscape is so identifiable and famous that the relatively recent term 'Manhattanization' was coined to describe the transformative boom of dense and tall buildings in other cities. The term has often been applied in Miami, which has constructed dozens of highrise buildings since 2003. Toronto's building boom has also evoked the Manhattanization expression, provoking local councillors and planners to find ways of providing and allocating services to accommodate the influx of residents and workers into particular development-heavy areas.

Miami's burgeoning skyline, image by Flickr user jorge molina

Often used as a pejorative word by critics who decry the traffic, shadowing, and visual obtrusion commonly associated with tall buildings, the term may be applied haphazardly to individual building projects, rather than in reference to a larger phenomena, and can prompt charges of hyperbole. But as highrise development becomes more expected — and reluctantly accepted — across the world, the skylines of the future may very well soon resemble the spires of Manhattan.

Toronto's building boom is producing new downtown skyscrapers, image by Marcus Mitanis

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