Skylines: a Point of Stability

In Seattle, on a clear day, you can always see Tacoma mountain. Even at 65 miles away, it is hard to miss a pile of rock scaling over 14,000 feet! It becomes a point of comfort, a point of stability. Skylines are the same way.

On my first day in the Fab Lab, I created a t-shirt with the Pittsburgh skyline. Even though I just recently moved back, I recognized some of the buildings. It helped give me a sense of place, a point of stability.


But unlike a mountain that appears the same from various angles, skylines can be drastically different even for the same city. Here in Pittsburgh it is even more so due to our limited number of skycrapers and the countless ridges surrounding the city. Most people, given a minute, can recognize that it is the 'burgh but most pictures are not as clear as the vector above.

Pretty clear view of the city from North Side

Pretty clear view of the city from North Side

Still recognizable, but just barely, from Millvale. 

Still recognizable, but just barely, from Millvale. 

Recently a friend of mine showed me a hidden gem in the city of steel. There is a hotel that has its lobby on the top floor, so visitors can get fantastic views of the city. It felt very similar to the view from a summit of a mountain; for so long you have been looking towards the skyline, so it feels strange yet aweinspiring to look out from it.


But what caught my eye even more, was at the very bottom of the picture. Can you guess what it is? Here is a closer look if you are stumped.


Its a church; the spires of which were the anchor point for people when they were first built. It wouldn't matter where someone was in the neighborhood, they could always see the spire and therefor be able to come to church. It was a point of stability in the community.

But the towers kept getting bigger and bigger, until we are now at at point where we are looking down, literally, on what was the point of stability.

We often forget about how new our cities are. Even the ones like Rome and Cairo that have been around for thousands of years; they have just sprung up recently in terms of geologic times. There are still trees older than our cities. There are mountain ranges older than there were the first humans on this planet. What will the next 50, 100, 1000, 10,000, 250,000 years bring?