blockitecture leaderboard

Mega-Projects Are Targets for Mega-Skepticism, But Are Concerns Warranted?

To substantiate their big budgets, big projects promise big results. But the inherent time, complexity, and deal-making required to complete such projects is fertile ground for incompetence and corruption; or isn't it? A new study investigates.

"[T]he list of hectored mega-projects goes back years, all around the world: The Chunnel, The Big Dig, bullet trains in Japan and China," observes Anthony Flint. "The price tag is typically the number one concern, but so is the rationale, the usefulness, the promised economic development returns, and on to many other themes including the design, the execution, and the maintenance. There is an assumption as well that corruption works its way into all modern-day public works."

"But is that what happened?" asks Flint. In examining 30 case studies of $1 billion-plus mega-projects worldwide, a new study [PDF] by Harry Dimitriou, director of the Omega Centre at the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London, and his colleagues "found that most mega-projects were actually close to being on time and on budget."

"But the team looked well beyond the 'iron triangle' of fulfilled schedule, budget, and specifications — and indeed that is the major takeaway from the report: Big projects need to be judged for how they meet objectives over time, amid shifting societal, political, and environmental values."

Full Story: Are Mega-Projects Really As Bad As Everyone Says?


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Currently on backorder

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.