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The above is among the most recognizable images in the world - the Kuala Lumpur city skyline. It's one of the world's most impressive skylines, according to the following article. This is only possible because of the peace and prosperity Malaysia enjoyed since independence - something which certain local groups seem to forget or ignore and are bent on destroying.

25 Cities With the Most Impressive Skyline
By Kaushik,
Amusing Planet, 16 June 2012.

The skyline of a city is like a fingerprint, unique and as easily identifiable as a country's flag or a national symbol. The Empire State Building, the Burj Khalifa, and the Taipei 101 are some of the iconic buildings that make the world's greatest skylines. The skyline of a city is also seen as symbol of the city's influence and economy. In general, larger cities have broader and taller skylines, though lower density cities can also have smaller skylines.

Here is a list of 25 cities that have the most impressive skyline in the world.

1. Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong is one of the world's leading international financial centres. The lack of space in the city caused demand for denser constructions, which developed the city to a centre for modern architecture and the world's most vertical city. Hong Kong boasts of more than 7800 buildings of which more than 2300 are above 100 meter with a combined height of a whopping 333,836 meter. Hong Kong ranks first in the world in both skyscraper and high-rise count, with at least 52 completed skyscrapers over the height of 200 meter and 272 skyscrapers over 150 meter. It also boasts four of the 15 tallest buildings in the world.

In addition, Hong Kong's skyline is often considered to be the best in the world, with the surrounding mountains and Victoria Harbour complementing the skyscrapers. Every night, many skyscrapers and buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour light up in a synchronized show called A Symphony of Lights, named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest permanent light and sound festival in the world.

2. New York City, USA

New York has one of the most famous skyline in the world. The history of skyscrapers in New York City began with the completion of the World Building in 1890, a structure that rose 348 feet (106 m). The city went through a very early high-rise construction boom that lasted from the early 1910s to the early 1930s, during which 16 of the city's 82 tallest buildings were built - including the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, each of which was the tallest in the world at the time of its completion. Since 1890, eleven structures in the city having held the title of world's tallest building.

A second skyscraper boom began about 1960. Since then, the city has seen the completion of nearly 70 structures rising at least 600 feet (183 m) high, including the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. The North Tower, "One World Trade Centre", was the tallest building in the world from 1972 until 1973 and the tallest building in New York City until the September 11 attacks of 2001.

3. Shanghai, China

The city of Shanghai, China is one of the fastest growing cities in the world in terms of skyscraper construction. As of 2004, there had been 6,704 buildings of 11 stories or more completed since 1990. As of December 2011, there are 1,057 completed high-rise buildings in the city, and 165 high-rise buildings either under construction, approved for construction, or proposed for construction, of which three are over 300 m (980 ft) high. Since 2008, Shanghai has boasted more free-standing buildings above 400m than any other city (except Chicago).

Shanghai's first building boom occurred in the 1920s and 30s, during the city's heyday as a multinational centre of business and finance. The city's international concessions permitted foreign investment, and with it came architectural styles from the West, as seen today in areas like the French Concession and the Bund. After the Communist takeover in 1949 the city's development was stifled, punished for its earlier capitalist excesses. After economic reforms in 1991, the city is undergoing its second construction boom to fulfil its desire to regain its status as an important global financial centre.

The tallest skyscraper in Shanghai is the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which is 492 m (1,614 ft) tall with 101 floors. It is currently the tallest building in the People's Republic of China and the third-tallest in the world. The tallest building under construction is the Shanghai Tower, which will have a height of 632 m (2,073 ft) and become the tallest building in China when completed. It is also slated to be the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Khalifa.

4. Tokyo, Japan

Skyscrapers are a relatively recent phenomenon in Tokyo, Japan. Due to aesthetic and engineering concerns, Japan's Building Standard Law set an absolute height limit of 31 meters until 1963, when the limit was abolished in favour of a Floor Area Ratio limit. Following these changes in building regulations, a number of high story buildings were erected in quick succession. A booming post-war Japanese economy and the hosting of the 1964 Summer Olympics helped lead to a building boom in Tokyo during the 1960s and 1970s. Construction continued through the 1980s and 1990s as the Japanese asset price bubble rose and fell.

Tokyo has been the site of many skyscraper construction projects in recent years. Since 2007, 13 buildings rising higher than 180 metres (591 ft) have been completed. As of February 2012, eight such buildings are under construction in the prefecture. In total the city has 2,779 buildings higher than 12 stories.

5. Chicago, USA

The history of skyscrapers in Chicago began with the 1885 completion of the Home Insurance Building, which is often regarded as the first steel-framed skyscraper in the world. Historically, Chicago has played a prominent role in the development of the skyscraper. Chicago went through a very early high-rise construction boom that lasted from the early 1920s to the mid-1930s, during which time 11 of the city's 91 tallest buildings were constructed. The city then went through an even larger building boom that has lasted from the early 1960s until the present. Overall, the skyline of Chicago is ranked based on existing and under-construction buildings first in the Midwestern United States and second in the United States, after New York City. As of July 2011, there were 1,125 completed high-rises in the city, second in the country behind New York. Based on the average height of the ten tallest completed buildings, Chicago has the tallest skyline in the world.

6. Singapore City, Singapore

Singapore's history of skyscrapers began with the 1939 completion of the 17-storey Cathay Building. The 70-metre (230 ft) structure was, at the time of its completion, the tallest building in Southeast Asia; it was superseded by the 87-metre (285 ft) Asia Insurance Building in 1954, which remained the tallest in Singapore until the 100 m (328 ft) Shaw Centre was completed in 1958. Singapore went through a major building boom in the 1970s and 1980s that resulted from the city's rapid industrialisation. The skyscraper-building boom continued during the 1990s and 2000s, with 30 skyscrapers at least 140 m (459 ft) tall, many of them residential towers, constructed from 1990 through 2008.

Singapore has over 4,300 completed high-rises, the majority of which are located in the Downtown Core. In the city, there are 49 skyscrapers that rise higher than 140 metres (459 ft).

7. Toronto, Canada

The history of skyscrapers in Toronto began in 1894 with the construction of the Beard Building, which is often regarded as the first skyscraper in the city. Toronto went through its first building boom in the late 1920s and early 1930s, during which the number of high-rise buildings in the city vastly increased. After this period, there was a great lull in construction between 1932 and 1964 with only a single building above 300 feet tall being built.

The city then experienced a second, much larger building boom, which was at its peak between 1967 and 1976. This period saw the construction of Canada's 3 tallest buildings and 6 of its top 10 (at the time). After the mid-1970s, the pace of the boom slowed considerably but continued onto the early 1990s, culminating with the construction of the city's and Canada's 2nd and 3rd tallest buildings: Scotia Plaza and the TD Canada Trust Tower.

After this boom, the city went through a second, shorter lull in construction from 1993 to 2004, in which the city added only one new building to its top 20. By 2005 however, the city's third major building boom began with the construction of One King West and has continued unabated ever since with over 40 planned, under construction or recently built buildings over 150m/500 ft tall. Toronto has 2,506 high rise building at present.

8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the country, in terms of population and economy. Prior to the Second World War, many buildings in the city were two storied. After independence in 1957, coupled with the rapid economic growth from the 1970s to the 1990s resulted in the construction of large number of buildings with Islamic styled architecture.

Late modern and postmodern architecture began to appear in the late-1990s and early-2000s. With the economic development, old buildings such as Bok House were razed to make way for new ones. Buildings with all-glass shells exist throughout the city, with the most prominent examples being the Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. According to the World Tallest 50 Urban Agglomeration 2010 Projection by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Kuala Lumpur was ranked 10th among cities to have most buildings above 100 meters with a combined height of 34,035 meters from its 244 high rise buildings.

9. Seattle, USA

The history of skyscrapers in Seattle began with the 1904 completion of the Alaska Building, which is often regarded as the first steel-framed skyscraper in the city, rising 14 floors and 203 feet (62 m) in height. Seattle went through a large construction boom in the late 1970s and 1980s, resulting in the construction of 15 of the city's 20 tallest buildings, including Columbia Centre and the 1201 Third Avenue. Seattle entered into another high-rise construction boom in 2000, and has since seen the completion of two buildings that stand at least 500 feet (152 m) in height. Today, Seattle boasts 13 completed skyscrapers that rise at least 500 feet (152 m) in height, with one more under construction. Seattle's skyline is ranked first in the Northwestern United States, third on the West Coast (after Los Angeles and San Francisco) and eleventh in the United States.

10. Dubai, UAE

The history of skyscrapers in Dubai began pretty recently with the construction of the 149-metre (489 ft) Dubai World Trade Centre in 1979, which is regarded to be the first skyscraper in the city. At the time of its completion, it also stood as the tallest building in the Middle East. Since 1999, and especially from 2005 onwards, Dubai had been on an extremely large skyscraper building boom, with all 63 buildings that stand taller than 200 metres (656 ft), which is more than any other city in the world, surpassing Hong Kong and New York City, and 125 buildings that stand taller than 150 metres. Also, Dubai has 17 high-rises whose height exceed 300 metres (984 ft), which is more than any other city in the world. The largest and most famous building in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building, freestanding structure, and man-made structure of any kind ever built on the planet.

11. Beijing, China

The history of skyscrapers in Beijing began in 1959 with the completion of the National Minority Hotel. Beijing's skyline gradually expanded upward at a modest rate for three decades. The completion of the China World Trade Centre Tower 1 in 1989 marked the beginning of Beijing's first building boom that lasted ten years. During this time period, four skyscrapers taller than 150 m (492 ft) were completed, including the 208 m (682 ft) Jing Guang Centre, which stood as the tallest building in Beijing from 1990–2006. A second, much larger boom began in 2004 and continues into the present, where twelve skyscrapers taller than 150 m (492 ft) were finished.

12. Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt is one of the few European cities with a large cluster of high rise building in its downtown area; in many other European cities, skyscraper construction was not well received in the past due to the historical value of existing buildings. For this reason, Frankfurt is sometimes referred to as "Mainhattan" (a portmanteau of the local Main river and Manhattan), and Chicago am Main. Most of Frankfurt's downtown area was destroyed by Allied air bombardment during World War II, and only a small number of the city's landmarks were rebuilt. This left ample room for and little opposition against the construction of modern high-rises in the city. Frankfurt went through its first high-rise building boom in the 1970s; during this time, the city saw the construction of nine buildings over 110 metres (360 ft) tall. From 1984 until 1993, Frankfurt went through another building boom, during which time the city's second-tallest building, Messeturm, and the third-tallest building, Westend Tower, were completed. As of October 2011, there are 294 completed high-rises in the city.

13. Jakarta, Indonesia

Located on the northwest coast of Java, Jakarta is Indonesia’s economic, cultural and political centre. It is the most populous city in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia, and is the twelfth-largest city in the world. The official metropolitan area, known as Jabodetabekjur, is the second largest in the world, yet the city's suburbs still continue beyond it.

Based on Brooking Institute survey about growth, in 2011 Jakarta ranked 17th among the world's 200 largest cities, a significant jump from 2007 when Jakarta ranked 171st. Jakarta has seen more rapid growth than Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Bangkok.

14. San Francisco, USA

San Francisco, California, is the site of over 410 high-rises, 44 of which stand taller than 400 feet (122 m). Many of San Francisco's tallest buildings, particularly its office skyscrapers, were completed in a massive building boom that occurred from the late 1960s until the late 1980s. This boom was dubbed a "Manhattanization wave" by residents of the city, and led to local legislation passed that set in some of the strictest building height limit requirements in the country. As a result skyscraper construction slowed down during the 1990s, but construction of taller buildings has resumed recently as the building height requirements have been relaxed and overlooked in light of recent economic activity. The city is currently going through a second boom, with 34 buildings over 400 feet (122 m) proposed, approved, or under construction in the city. San Francisco boasts 21 skyscrapers that rise at least 492 feet (150 m) in height.

15. Panama City, Panama

Panama City has the most prominent skyline in Central America. Panama's old quarter features many architectural styles, from Spanish colonial buildings to French and Antillean townhouses built during the construction of the Panama Canal. The more modern areas of the city have many high-rise buildings, which together form a very dense skyline. There are currently more than 110 high-rise projects being constructed, with 127 high-rise buildings already built. The city holds the 40th place in the world by high-rise buildings count.

16. Chongqing, China

Chongqing is one of the largest cities in China and one of the rapidly growing. The city sits on the hillside tops of two converging rivers. Sadly because of the industrial economy of the region, despite being geographically lovely, it is also extremely dirty and polluted. The bay area where the tallest buildings are situated looks like a cross between Manhattan and san Francisco minus some of the organization and style. The architectural modernity is not to be overlooked, there are plenty of shiny office and condo towers amidst the grey skies. All eleven of their skyscrapers that tower over 200 meters were built after 2004.

17. Miami, USA

The U.S. city of Miami, Florida is the site of 295 high-rises, 59 of which stand taller than 400 feet (120 m). Miami's history of high rises began with the 1912 completion of the six story Burdine's Department Store, although the Freedom Tower, built in 1925, is Miami's best known early skyscraper, and remains an icon of the city. From the Mid 1990s through the late 2000s, Miami went through the largest building boom in the city's history. In what was dubbed a "Manhattanization wave", there were nearly 60 structures proposed, approved or under construction in the city that were planned to rise over 492 feet (150 m) in height.

The boom, however, ended abruptly in 2008 when the real estate market crashed and the late-2000s recession began. As of May 2011, the construction of many skyscrapers has been suspended, and many proposed high-rise projects in the city have been cancelled or delayed. Nevertheless, before the year 2000 the city became one of largest skylines in the United States.

18. Houston, USA

The history of skyscrapers in Houston began with the 1904 completion of the Lomas & Nettleton Building; this 8-story structure is often regarded as the first skyscraper in the city. Houston went through a small building boom in the early 1920s, and then experienced a much larger boom lasting from 1963 to the late 1980s. During this time 38 of the city's 45 tallest buildings were constructed, including the JPMorgan Chase Tower, the Wells Fargo Bank Plaza and the Williams Tower. As of 2009, the skyline of Houston is ranked 13th in the world and fourth in the United States, behind New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, with 443 completed high-rises.

19. Sydney, Australia

Spanned by the monumental Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House that sits on the shoreline like a white flower, Sydney has one of the most recognizable skylines in the world. Sydney is famous for its harbour, often referred to as the most beautiful natural harbour in the world.

Sydney has various heritage listed buildings, including Sydney Town Hall, The Queen Victoria Building, Parliament House, and the Australian Museum. There is no architecture style that entirely characterizes the whole of Sydney. Sydney originally had a 46 m (151 ft) height limit that was enforced until 1957, which saw a construction boom for skyscrapers and buildings. Current height restrictions limit future buildings to the height of 235 metres, in part due to the close proximity of Sydney Airport.

20. Los Angeles, USA

Skyscrapers are difficult and expensive to construct in Los Angeles due to the city's high danger of earthquakes and position near the San Andreas fault line. Nevertheless, a number of successful and iconic skyscrapers dot the downtown Los Angeles skyline. The history of skyscrapers in Los Angeles began with the 1903 completion of the Braly Building, which is often regarded as the first high-rise in the city; it rises 13 floors and 151 feet (46 m) in height. The building, originally constructed as a commercial structure, has since been renovated into a residential tower and is now known as the "Continental Building". Los Angeles went through a large building boom that lasted from the early 1960s to the early 1990s, during which time the city saw the completion of 30 of its 32 tallest buildings, including the U.S. Bank Tower, Aon Tower, and Two California Plaza. The city is the site of 25 skyscrapers at least 492 feet (150 m) in height, more than any other city in the Pacific coast region. As of July 2011, there are 505 completed high-rises in the city.

21. Melbourne, Australia

The Melbourne skyline is broken up into 2 distinct skylines, the eastern and western. Both have significant clusters of tall modern buildings, dominated by 5 of the 10 tallest towers in the country, each on average 50 storeys in height, many with spires, and the largest in the southern hemisphere - the sleek glassy Rialto Towers.

Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) boomed in the 1950s and 1960s. Its first skyscraper, ICI House, was completed in 1958. In the lead up to the 1956 Olympic Games the removal of verandas further contributed to the physical change occurring in the CBD. Building works that altered the City’s skyline and character in the 1980s and 1990s included the redevelopment of the Melbourne City Baths, State Library of Victoria, the old Queen Victoria Hospital site and the Queen Victoria Market. The installation of light towers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Yarra Park in 1985 and the construction of the National Tennis Centre in Melbourne Park (formerly Flinders Park) saw major alterations to the landscape.

22. Sao Paulo, Brazil

The city of Sao Paulo, the Brazil's largest city, has an impressive skyline. With 5,644 buildings, it is considered to have the 3rd-greatest concentration of buildings in the world, behind only New York City and Hong Kong. Within the city and its metropolitan area, there are 193 buildings taller than 100 meters, mostly concentrated in the downtown along the Paulista Avenue and in the neighbourhood of Brooklin. At one time, the city was home to the tallest building in Latin America, the Martinelli Building, which opened in 1929 at a height of 130 meters. Today, São Paulo is a city of low buildings, which rarely reach more than 80 meters and are mostly residential in nature. Some municipal laws limit the construction of large skyscrapers for reasons relating to vehicular or human traffic. For that reason, once a neighbourhood is fully occupied by skyscrapers, the city's financial centre moves to somewhere else. That's why the tallest skyscrapers are located in three different regions.

23. Shenzhen, China

Shenzhen's vertical growth began in 1979, at a time when the tallest building in the city was five stories tall. In the next decade, 300 skyscrapers were erected in the city, including the International Foreign Trade Centre, the city's first skyscraper taller than 150 m (492 ft) and also the tallest building in mainland China upon its opening in 1985. As Shenzhen's high-rise construction boom progressed into the 1990s, the skyscrapers erected in the city became taller. In a ten year span between 1996 and 2006, 18 buildings taller than 200 m (656 ft) were completed, including Shun Hing Square, the city's first building to exceed 300 m (984 ft) in height.

The tallest developments currently under construction in Shenzhen are the 648 m (2,126 ft) Pingan International Finance Centre which is projected to become the second tallest building in the world surpassed only by the Burj Khalifa and the 100 story 439 m (1,440 ft)) Kingkey Finance Tower. Shenzhen's high-rise building boom shows no signs of slowing down, as shown by numerous proposals for skyscrapers taller than 150 m (492 ft).

24. Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou is a historical and cultural city that is over 2,000 years old. However the skyline is very modern. Named "the City of Flowers,” as each of its spectacular skyscrapers is surrounded by grand green spaces and flower beds. It currently contains 9 structures at over 200 metres tall and there are plenty of other high-rises, each displaying a design that stands out in its own respect. The 391 metre, 80-floor, CITIC Plaza which appears transparent against the (unusually) clear blue sky is a aesthetically pleasing structure. The Guangzhou TV Tower now complete and is taller than the CN Tower in Toronto, standing at 618 meters. The interestingly shaped Guangzhou West Tower is a grand 438 meters. This city is considered the 8th tallest in the world. Unfortunately, smog is a persistent problem here, so getting a clear look at the skyline can be a challenge.

25. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul's long history gives it a fascinating landscape as historical structures are juxtaposed alongside new skyscrapers. Major modern landmarks within the city include the Korea Finance Building, North Seoul Tower, the World Trade Centre, the 63 Building, Tower Palace, a six-skyscraper residence and the Namsan Tower on top of the Namsan hill, which is considered an iconic image of the city of Seoul and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. This along with various high-rise office buildings, such as the Seoul Star Tower and Jongno Tower, dominate the city's skyline. These skyscrapers have been constructed in part due to Seoul's high density, but also due to its global and modern world image. Seoul continues to add modern structures to its skyline with the planned addition of a 640-meter business centre in Sangam Digital Media City district and a 523-meter Lotte World 2 Tower.

Article based on ranking by Egbert Gramsbergen and Paul Kazmierczak, Luigi Di Serio and Wikipedia, and my own good judgment.

[Source: Amusing Planet – Part 1, Part 2. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

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