Concrete is the second-most consumed substance in the world and causes much environmental damage. Despite this, it's needed for essential infrastructure and, paradoxically, will be needed even more to protect against climate change.
Alongside all of this, it has a lifespan of about 100 years, which means much of our infrastructure is hitting that age limit and starting to rot.
This is a fascinating article on our addiction to concrete and the harms that come with it.
Was anyone actually impressed by this building as a feat of engineering when it went up in 2009? Obviously not — by this point, it is well understood that anything in architecture is possible if you have enough money, and the Burj Khalifa cost over $1.5 billion dollars.
I knew they trucked tons of sewage out of that building due to the lack of infrastructure. I didn't know that close to a third of it was basically hollow:
The city of Dubai did not green light a building that extends a half-mile into the air because of a pressing need for residences in downtown Dubai. To the contrary, the top 800 feet (244 meters) of the building, or 29% of the structure’s total height, is devoted to non-usable floors.