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Depth to Bedrock and the Formation of the Manhattan Skyline, 1890–1915

  • JASON BARR (a1), TROY TASSIER (a2) and ROSSEN TRENDAFILOV (a3)
Abstract

New York City historiography holds that Manhattan developed two business centers—downtown and midtown—because the bedrock is close to the surface at these locations, with a bedrock “valley” in between. This article is the first effort to measure the effect of depth to bedrock on construction costs and the location of skyscrapers. We find that while depth to bedrock had a modest effect on costs (up to 7 percent), it had relatively little influence on the location of skyscrapers.

“Hour by hour the caissons reach down to the rock of the earth and hold the building to a turning planet.”

Carl Sandburg, Skyscraper

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Susan B Carter . et al., eds. Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition Online. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Donald R. Davis , and E. Weinstein David . “Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: the Geography of Economic Activity.” American Economic Review 92, no. 5 (2002): 1269–89.

Edward L. Glaeser , Hedi D. Kallal , Jose A. Scheinkman and Andrei Shleifer . “Growth in Cities.” Journal of Political Economy 100, no. 6 (1992): 1126–52.

Sukkoo Kim . “Regions, Resources, and Economic Geography: Sources of U.S. Regional Comparative Advantage, 1880–1987.” Regional Science and Urban Economics 29 (1998): 132.

Sara B. Landau , and W. Condit Carl . Rise of the New York Skyscraper: 1865–1913.New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

Manhattan Borough President's Office.“Rock Data Map of Manhattan.” New York, circa 1940.

Skyscraper Source Media.New York City Building Database, http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/?cityID=8. Accessed June 2008.

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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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