Flat-packed cities: wooden skyscrapers sprout over concrete concerns

(Reuters News, 21 Aug 2019) With concrete a major source of climate-changing emissions, cities around the world are looking at high-rise wooden buildings instead.

For more than a century, countries have raced to build the world's tallest buildings with concrete and steel. Now, a quiet contest in constructing tall wooden buildings, from Amsterdam to Tokyo, underlines growing environmental concerns over concrete.

With rapid advances in engineered wood, and authorities relaxing building codes, wooden structures are sprouting across Europe, Canada, the United States, and in the Asia Pacific region.

At 73 metres (240 ft), Amsterdam's Haut building is said to be the world's tallest wooden residential tower.

Vancouver plans a 40-storey building it says will be the world's tallest, a title also claimed by Sumitomo Forestry's 350-metre skyscraper in Tokyo.

"The interest is definitely being driven by environmental concerns - the amount of damage we're doing with concrete is unbelievable," said John Hardy, a sustainability expert in Bali, Indonesia.

"Bamboo and wood are carbon sequestering materials. So the other advantage of building with them is that you will look better to your children and grandchildren," he said.

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Reuters News, 21 Aug 2019: Flat-packed cities: wooden skyscrapers sprout over concrete concerns