Wanted: Large metal objects

Running around Austin earlier this week, I came around a corner and was struck by this sight:

It might not seem special to you. But it was a sight I hadn't seen in a while: Construction cranes on a city's skyline. For most of the last two decades, I'd taken sights like this for granted, as most of the cities I've lived in have been growing at a steady pace. But now, cranes are few and far between.

My initial reaction was, I think cities should just install a half dozen cranes on their skyline, as a way to market the city to potential investors and corporations looking for sweeter tax deals. Because cranes symbolize growth, new jobs, cities on the rise... That reaction was quickly followed by the realization that, like good marketing for a bad product, the promising image of a crane only gets you so far. Just ask Dubai.

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