Jul 1, 2002

The Top 18 Skylines in the World

1. Hong Kong, China
Kong is number one on my list for many reasons: Hong Kong has a
whopping 43 buildings over 200 metres tall, 30 of which were built in
the year 2000 or later!!! It also boasts four of the 15 tallest
buildings in the world… that's all in one city! Hong Kong’s skyline
shows a large selection of distinct sky-reaching towers, with beautiful
night lighting and reflection. This city exemplifies the post-modern
skyscraper and skyline. Finally, the mountain backdrop makes this
skyline (as you can clearly see) the greatest on the planet!

Metro/Urban Population: 6.9 million
 Skylines in the World

2. Chicago, USA
is the birthplace of the modern skyscraper. When Chicago built its
first steel high-rise in 1885, it was not the tallest structure in the
world but the first example of a new form of engineering that would
change nearly every city on earth. Chicago has 19 buildings over 200
metres tall (three of which are among the top 20 tallest buildings in
the world, including the tallest in North America). Chicago has some of
the finest mid-century architecture and examples of modern skyscrapers.

Metro/Urban Population: 9.5 million
 Skylines in the World

3. Shanghai, China
to be mistaken for a space station, Shanghai is a real city! China's
biggest and most advanced city, Shanghai was said to be the most
cosmopolitan city in the beginning of the 20th century, but lost its
glory during the “Mao era”. It is now quickly regaining its position as
one of the biggest economic powerhouses in the world as well as a
showcase of modern architecture. In Shanghai you’ll find 25 structures
that are over 200 metres tall, one of which is the insanely tall, the
468m downtown Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

Metro/Urban Population: 13.1 million
 Skylines in the World

4. New York City, USANew
York City has one of the densest and most diverse skylines, with a huge
collection of buildings and building styles. Thanks to Hollywood’s
obsession with the city, it is also the most easily recognizable
skyline in the world. New York City has an amazing 47 buildings over
200 metres - the most in the world! The four tallest buildings in NYC
were all built in the early 1930s! Home of the famous, now destroyed
World Trade Center Towers, the Empire State building, the Statue of
Liberty and the United Nations, New York City is the financial capital
of the western world. Upon the completion of the new "Freedom Tower"
(built on the old site of the World Trade Centers), it may rank higher
in this list (depending on how good it looks of course).

Metro/Urban Population: 21.0 million
 Skylines in the World

5. Tokyo, Japan
is the world's most populated city. Its skyline has a number of unique
characteristics that set it apart from other big city skylines, among
them 15 structures at over 200 metres tall (including the Tokyo Tower
which changes colors every night). But because of the density and vast
size of the city, every corner appears to have its own skyline. With
the height restrictions and the required red lights that flash atop all
mid to tall-sized buildings make the city look spectacular at night.
Tokyo is filled with neon lighting and unique, contemporary
architecture, and like New York City is also often portrayed in movies
for its aesthetic and eye-catching cityscapes. Interesting fact: Tokyo
houses the world's largest fleet of helicopters to get around town if
traffic gets too crazy.

Metro/Urban Population: 32.0 million
 Skylines in the World

6. Singapore
of the best (urban) planned and cleanliest metropolitan cities in the
world, Singapore looks like an architectural model city come to life.
The buildings cannot be higher than 280 metres due to air traffic
control restrictions, but that has added a tall (but not too tall) and
consistent building height and space pattern that makes this skyline
unique: Three buildings are exactly 280 metres tall and 5 others (8
total) stand at just over 200 metres. The buildings are mostly
light-coloured and there is a large expanse of greenery dotted around
the city core. This South-Eastern city is definitely in a league of its

Metro/Urban Population: 3.8 million
 Skylines in the World

7. Toronto, Canada
is a meeting place, a crossroads of many cultures and ethnicities.
Toronto is downtown Canada, the biggest city in the country with a
skyline to match. Toronto has 7 structures in its skyline that stand at
over 200 metres, including the astonishingly tall 553 metre, CN Tower,
which is often referred to as the tallest free-standing structure in
the world. While mostly untrue (because there are taller TV masts in
the world), the CN Tower possess the world's highest observation deck,
making this city's skyline one of the most immediately identifiable.

Metro/Urban Population: 5.1 million
 Skylines in the World

8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
is probably the most impressive city worldwide that has less than 2
million residents. Marvelous modern buildings reach the sky here, and
while the skyline is not too dense, it does allow buildings to soar and
stand out. Kuala Lumpar has three of the 25 tallest buildings
worldwide, including the tallest twin buildings, the Pretonos Towers
(which are arguably the second and third tallest overall in the world)
as well as the 420 metre Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower.

Metro/Urban Population: 1.5 million
 Skylines in the World

9. Shenzhen, China
was a tiny fishing village on the border of Hong Kong in 1970 is now a
buzzing metropolis of over four million people. With 13 buildings at
over 200 meters tall, including the Shun Hing Square (the 8th tallest
building in the world), Shenzen is a marvel of lights after sunset. You
can’t help but ask yourself if you are in a video game or in a real

Metro/Urban Population: 4.2 million
 Skylines in the World

10. Seoul, South Korea
city's skyscrapers are divided into many clusters, spread amongst the
main businesses and residential districts. Most of the recent growth in
Seoul's skyline, however, has been of residential towers over 60
storeys high that are shooting up like blades of grass! There are 10
buildings in Seoul over 200 meters tall and much of the mid-rise to
high-rise structures are lined up in a linear fashion, creating a
"wall" of buildings like no other. Seoul is where the ancient Eastern
world meets the modern West.

Metro/Urban Population: 20.8 million
 Skylines in the World

11. Sao Paolo, Brazil
building did you say they lived in?” Finding it in the largest mass of
condensed apartment buildings anywhere would be like finding a needle
in a haystack. Sao Paolo has a population of over 18 million people!
While the buildings are not super tall (with only a single structure at
over 200 meters tall) this skyline is nevertheless stacked. Sao Paolo
has a fleet of over 500 helicopters, the second largest helicopter
fleet in the world.

Metro/Urban Population: 18.3 million
 Skylines in the World

12. Sydney, Australia
showcase city, Sydney has one of the most recognizable skylines due to
its world-famous harbour, often referred to as the most beautiful
natural harbour in the world. The Sydney Harbour has many bays, inlets
and secondary harbours. It is spanned by the monumental Harbour Bridge,
and the Opera House decorates the shoreline like a white flower. The
Sydney skyline is world-class with hundreds of skyscrapers in the
central business district and many more high-rise buildings in the
outlying neighbourhoods. Sydney has 8 buildings over 200 metres tall.

Metro/Urban Population: 4.2 million
 Skylines in the World

13. Frankfurt, Germany
one of Europe's most interesting cities in terms of skylines, Frankfurt
is home to five structures that are over 200 metres tall. These modern
skyscrapers are marvels compared to those other, mostly non-existent
ones scattered across European cities. The contrast here is
interesting: The city combines low-rise, high-density traditional
European architecture (some of which is over 1,000 years old), with
modern towers that stick out like sore thumbs, but are impressive

Metro/Urban Population: 4.1 million
 Skylines in the World

14. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
this a mirage in the Middle East? Seemingly out of nowhere emerges a
city in the middle of a desert. This is Dubai, a city that produces
only the best modern architecture in the world. Already home of the
world's tallest all-hotel building and the tallest all-residential
building in the world, AND currently proposed to build the world's
tallest building, this skyline might just leap to the number 1 spot in
the near future. While the skyline is not so dense, each building is a
marvel all on its own. As a skyline it probably can't compete with the
larger cities, however the individual buildings in this city are by far
the greatest examples of modern architectural accomplishments. All
seven structures in this city at over 200 metres tall were built in
1999 or later - that's how new this city is.

Metro/Urban Population: 1.6 million
 Skylines in the World

15. Seattle, USA
is the commercial, cultural and advanced technology hub of the
Northwest USA and a major port city for Pacific and European trade.
Home 4 buildings over 200m and the famous 184m Space Needle observation
tower, Seattle is surrounded by mountains and water and offers some
picture-perfect views. Seattle is commonly referred to as the Emerald
City and renowned as a great social and corporate city with great
planning and planning.

Metro/Urban Population: 3.6 million
 Skylines in the World

16. Pittsburgh, USA
Pittsburgh only has two buildings over 200m tall, its skyline is very
impressive nonetheless. Pittsburgh has nicknames like the "city of
bridges", "the Burgh" or the "golden triangle" which outlines its true
characteristics. It is surround by three rivers and the CBD is shaped
in a triangle and surrounded by golden color bridges. The city is also
surrounded by hills and valley's giving access to great views of the
city. The city has not had a major skyscraper raised since 1988, but
good planning and a scenic surrounding region still makes it a great

Metro/Urban Population: 2.4 million
 Skylines in the World

17. Guangzhou, China
is a very modern city, yet it is called "the City of Flowers,” as each
of its spectacular skyscrapers is surrounded by grand green spaces and
flower beds. Although it only has six structures at over 200 metres
tall, there are plenty of other high-rises, each displaying a design
that stands out in its own respect. This includes the 391 metre,
80-floor, CITIC Plaza which appears transparent against the (usually)
clear blue sky!

Metro/Urban Population: 4.1 million
 Skylines in the World

18. Dallas, USA
"Big D", is a major inland American city. The city and metropolitan
area lies amidst vast, high, and varying rolling prairies - with
hundreds of large small lakes, rivers, creeks, waterways and
meanders. But Dallas; downtown is the center of the Forth-Worth-Dallas
Metro Region which is home to 5.9 million people. Dallas' skyline is
home to 7 buildings over 200 meters and the 187m Reunion Tower which
looks like huge sphere of light! The skyline is very distinctive at
night as it building lighting is very colorful, particularly with lots
of green.

Metro/Urban Population: 5.2 million
 Skylines in the World

I want to thank for this article to Luigi Di Serio.

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