The city was planned under the guidance of Sheikh Zayed by Japanese architect Katsuhiko Takahashi in 1967 initially for a population of 40,000. The density of Abu Dhabi varies, with high employment density in the central area, high residential densities in central downtown and lower densities in the suburban districts. In the dense areas, most of the concentration is achieved with medium- and high-rise buildings. Abu Dhabi's skyscrapers such as the notable Burj Mohammed bin Rashid (World Trade Center Abu Dhabi), Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi headquarters, The Baynunah (Hilton Hotel) Tower, and the Etisalat headquarters are usually found in the financial districts of Abu Dhabi. Other notable modern buildings include the Aldar Headquarters, the first circular skyscraper in the middle east and the Emirates Palace with its design inspired by Arab heritage.
The development of tall buildings has been encouraged in the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030, which will lead to the construction of many new skyscrapers over the next decade, particularly in the expansion of Abu Dhabi's central business district such as the new developments on Al Maryah Island and Al Reem Island. Abu Dhabi already has a number of supertall skyscrapers under construction throughout the city. Some of the tallest buildings on the skyline include the 382 m (1,253.28 ft) Central Market Residential Tower, the 324 m (1,062.99 ft) The Landmark and the 74-story, 310 m (1,017.06 ft) Sky Tower, all of them completed. Also, many other skyscrapers over 150 m (492.13 ft) (500 ft) are either proposed or approved and could transform the city's skyline. As of July 2008, there were 62 high-rise buildings 23 to 150 m (75.46 to 492.13 ft) under construction, approved for construction, or proposed for construction.