Obsolete: good corner buildings

On the obsolescence of good corner buildings: many early zoning ordinances, most famously those in Paris and New York, used “sky planes” to determine the size and shape of a building. Under these ordinances, a building’s size was related to the length of its street frontage and the width of the street it faced. Hence, a building on a wide street could be taller, and a building on a corner — with more frontage — could be larger and could come up to the sidewalk on both streets. The heightened visual prominence of a corner lot also commanded higher land prices; developers made these buildings particularly imposing to attract foot traffic. Today, auto dependence has raised demand for parking lots, reduced demand for floor space (especially in narrow configurations), and functionally reduced the visual prominence of the corner.