Skyscrapers and mass transit. As more and more people crowded into the large cities, the value of urban land increased. The solution to rising costs of real estate and the need to maximize the use of available space was to build up. The availability of cheap cast iron and, later, structural steel, improved fireproofing, and the electric elevator allowed for the construction of taller and taller buildings. The first skyscraper was the ten-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago, completed in 1884. Chicago became the home of the skyscraper because of the disastrous fire of 1871 that destroyed most of the central business district. The building codes that went into effect after the fire required that all new construction use noncombustible materials. Office buildings of 20 or more stories were common in large cities throughout the country by the end of the nineteenth century.
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Manhattan, large cities, Home Insurance Building, cheap cast iron, noncombustible materials. Office