Some cities create extra housing by building tall buildings. Other cities do this by building on wide areas of land.
Which do you think is the best solution to the problem of housing?
To provide additional housing, some cities construct high-rise buildings while other cities develop land in extensive areas. In my opinion, the latter approach is the best way to solve the housing problem because land in wide areas is usually inexpensive. Besides, high-rise construction can be very costly.
Land in wide areas is relatively low-priced. Only the suburbs of a city have very large parcels of land available for real estate development, and these multi-hectare parcels are generally far cheaper than even one hectare of land in the city center. Lower land prices mean cheaper homes. For example, the average home value in the suburbs of Beijing is 17,000 yuan per square meter versus 58,000 yuan in the city center. Affordable homes are the key to solving the housing crisis because they are exactly what people with low incomes need.
In addition, the higher a building rises, the more expensive the construction is. It takes top architects, high technologies, and reinforcing steel to build residential skyscrapers, and these things can cost a great deal of money. That is to say, these skyscrapers are not where low-income households can afford to live. For instance, about one in four high-rise apartments in New York City sit unsold, while tens of thousands of citizens are homeless. In comparison, low-rise buildings are much cheaper to construct and therefore a much better solution to the affordable housing crisis.
In conclusion, building on extensive areas of land is the optimal method to address the housing problem. For one thing, land in these areas tends to be cheaper and, for another, high-rise construction can be very expensive.