When I was high up in Trump Tower a few weeks ago for that event I told you about, I couldn't get the words of a prominent Chicago urban planner out of my mind.
"You stand in a skyscraper and look out of a window facing east, and the view looks almost the same looking west and south," he said. "Just drier."
The point was profound: that downtown's height and density quickly fall away south and west of the Loop; that the South and West sides are generally so low-rise and low-density , that looking at them from a Loop high rise is not much different than a view of the water where there are no buildings at all. And the planner's point wasn't that we need taller buildings for the sake of having taller buildings. His point was that Chicago needs to be a more dense, populous city, and vertical city.
The point resonated even more in the context of the current mayor's race. Which candidate has promised to find ways grow the city's population? Not one. And this isn't at all a criticism of the solely of the current (or past) candidates for the job.