Regarding engineering feats like highest building, longest tunnel, largest bridge, ... it feels that nowadays these aren't quite the groundbraking accomplishments they used to be. In Ironbridge Gorge, you find a first steel bridge. But what makes the aquaduct of Millau a first apart from being long?
I mostly think you are right about, tallest, longest, highest... structures. In the long term the Petronas Towers or Taipei 101 are probably not going to have much resonance outside their immediate environs beyond a quirk of "they were once the tallest building in the world".
I think Burj Khalifa may be a bit of an exception to that:
1. For being a massive leap in terms of building height adding over 60% to the previous Tallest Building (which had the advantage of removing all of the niggly little questions about what constitutes a building, do masts and TV towers count etc
2. I think more significantly, it demonstrates a movement of prestige, resources, focus and capital to the Middle Eastern fossil fuel producing states. Whilst the building itself may not been 100% linked to oil extraction, it demonstrates a refocusing of the global economy on such sites, in much the same way that the Industrial revolution sites in the UK do, even if it is in a secondary way.
For me the Millau Viaduct is significant because it is beautiful. A wonderful elegant solution that used innovative engineering to find a solution to a problem. I hadn't realised it has a superlative attached to it (highest bridge in the world apparently).
Speaking of the High Line, if you're interested in such projects, my organization is involved with the creation of a 3-mile "Rail Park" (in Philadelphia, on the old Reading Railroad Viaduct built in the 1890s) that would be twice as long and twice as wide as the High Line. Maybe a serial, someday!
Thanks pikkle that looks really interesting. I used to live at various points on North London's similar project, the Parkland Walk
, it is was a near essential part of urban life, something we really missed when we moved away from it, so it is great to see similar things happening in other cities, I would happily support a future serial nomination.
Whilst those are post industrial reuse projects in Urban situations we may actually have a rural one being inscribed next year, in the shape of the Hoge Kempen National Park
partially created in areas previously used for coal mining and industrial sand quarrying. Depending on how you define such transitions this may qualify, to some extent as a 21st century site, though the transition has been ongoing since the 1990's. So a 20th/ 21st century update of Las Medulas.