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Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition / Edition 1

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Promoters of multi-billion dollar land-use development megaprojects systematically misinform parliaments, the public and the media in order to get them approved and built. This book not only explores these issues, but suggests practical solutions drawing on theory and scientific evidence from the several hundred projects in twenty nations and five continents. It is of interest to students, scholars, planners, economists, auditors, politicians and concerned citizens.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition provides a fascinating look at the pervasiveness of misinformation in the planning of major construction projects and the systematic bias of such misinformation towards justifying project implementation. The power of its analysis is vastly reinforced by the range of cases examined, extending over 70 years and five continents. An extraordinary accomplishment, it will doubtless serve as the standard reference on this topic for many years to come." Alan Altshuler, Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"Anyone concerned with public works projects, planning, and ethics in public policy should read this book. It provides a genuinely original perspective on why large complex projects often cost much more than their planners say they will and treats this problem as a fascinating puzzle involving technical methods, professional ethics and the politics of urban decision making." Martin Wachs, Director of Institute of Transportation Studies, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor of City and Regional Planning, University of California at Berkeley

"Flyvbjerg's damning analysis concentrates on a series of financial nightmares that should bring even the most casual reader out in a sweat." New Scientist

"Life is too short to read every tome penned by Scandinavian and German social scientists. But Megaprojects and Risk, written by Bent Flyvbjerg, Nils Bruzelius and Werner Rothengatter, is a cracker. In lurid and startling detail it examines dozens of vast construction schemes around the world." Times Online

"The book is provocative throughout, documenting the often dismal performance history of these huge projects and calling attention to the forces that make reform a formidable undertaking." Civil Engineering

"By vividly illustrating the dynamics of megaprojects, Flyvbjerg and his colleagues clearly and acutely identify the problem and propose sensible solutions. Hopefully, their work will receive the kind of attention that it deserves from planners, decision makers, technical experts and the public, stimulate discussion on how to resolve what is likely to be an ever growing problem and lead to the adoption, by at least a few countries, of a new approach to megaproject decision making." Journal of Planning Education & Research

"With his two co-authors, Flyvbjerg has produced a clear and lucid account of the economic, environmental, and social impacts of megaprojects...a lucid critique of existing norms is combined with practical suggestions for improvement." Canadian Journal of Urban Research, Carolyn Whitzman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521009461
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 218
  • Sales rank: 641,987
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Bent Flyvbjerg is Professor in the Department of Planning and Development at Aalborg University and author of the highly successful Making Social Science Matter (CUP 2001) and Rationality and Power (University of Chicago 1998).

Nils Bruzelius is Associate Professor at Stockholm University and an independent consultant on transport and planning.

Werner Rothengatter is Head of the Institute of Economic Policy Research and of the Unit on Transport and Communication at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. He is also the president of the World Congress on Transport Research Society (WCTRS).

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Table of Contents

1. The Megaprojects paradox; 2. A calamitous history of cost overrun; 3. The demand for Megaprojects; 4. Substance and spin in Megaproject economics; 5. Environmental impacts and risk; 6. Regional and economic growth effects; 7. Dealing with risk; 8. Conventional Megaproject development; 9. Lessons of privatisation; 10. Four instruments of accountability; 11. Accountable Megaproject decision making; 12. Beyond the Megaprojects paradox; Appendix. Risk and accountability at work: a case study.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2004

    Packed with Knowledge!

    Every once in a while a little book comes along that, while small in size, carries sufficient intellectual weight to strike the body politic between the eyes, thereby getting its collective attention. This may be one such book. It offers a realistic look at megaprojects ¿ those major infrastructure endeavors that span vast bodies of water, dam natural resources to generate energy and extend rail lines to previously unreachable regions ¿ and compares the promises of these projects to what they actually deliver. The report card isn¿t very good. Cost overruns are typically 25% to 100%, and sometimes 200% or more. Worse yet, studies show that the public tends to use megaprojects ¿ be they airports or subway systems ¿ only a fraction of the amount predicted. We strongly recommends this book to politicians, legislators and anyone who wants to know the truth behind these huge infrastructure projects, as well as to CEOs, CFOs, project managers and risk officers in the private sector ¿ this applies to your projects, even if there is a difference of scale.

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