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NOVA | High-Risk High-Rise

Wed Jan 10 at 9:00 PM on WKAR-HD 23.1 & STREAMING | Hundreds of new skyscrapers are being built around the globe. As nations vie for prestige and developers look to maximize limited urban space, these shimmering towers are rising higher and higher.

In China alone, dozens of buildings reach over 1,000 feet, with one topping 2,000 feet. But for all their impressive engineering, are these buildings safe? And can they be made livable? Are building regulations keeping up with the vertical building boom?

In San Francisco, skyscrapers can be built on unstable, sinking ground. And internal sprinkler systems — the only hope for extinguishing fires that burn beyond the reach of firefighters’ ladders — are often ineffective.

Now, NOVA "High-Risk High-Rise" explores the science behind the risks of sky-high buildings, from the structural limits of building materials to the threats presented by wind, fire, and earthquakes. Experts show how the science of evacuation has shaped buildings in recent years, and what we have — and haven’t — learned from past tragedies.

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