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Opinion
Adam Minter

China's Skyscraper Age Is Over

As workplace habits change, supertall buildings are sitting empty.
Not making 'em like they used to.

Not making 'em like they used to.

Photographer: Feature China/Barcroft Media

At more than 2,000 feet, Shanghai Tower is the world's second-tallest building. It looms over its neighbors -- the world's ninth and 19th tallest buildings -- in a supercluster of supertall structures unlike any other in the world. The only problem? Finding people to work there: Only 60 percent of Shanghai Tower is rented out, and only a third of current tenants have actually occupied their leased space.

In this sense, Shanghai Tower signifies the end of an era. Its plight suggests some major changes are afoot in the real-estate market -- and, more significantly, in how the professional class lives and works in China.