The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that the size of a culture's buildings speak to its values. In the Middle Ages, the cathedrals of Europe stood like mother hens surrounded by their chicks.
Did 9/11 put the kibosh on men's lust for height? Vivify a newer, humbler post-skyscraper era? No way. Frank Lloyd Wright's dream of a mile-high skyscraper is being built: the Burj Dubai.
Welcome to Babel redux: burj means "tower" in Arabic. Will we see such economic loss-leaders again in America's urban centers? Phillip Nobel, author of the New American article, says no. Once they bespoke invincible optimism, abundant in the past now reined in by local ground rules. But this spirit is alive and well in the Middle East and Asia. Such buildings make money, but they also awe.
Just a question: Is it good news or bad news that such chutzpah has packed up, left the U. S. A., and moved to the sandy realm of Dubai?