Over-ambitious projects, impossibly tall skyscrapers, and the sometimes foolhardy expeditions into cosmetic surgery, with Bent Flyvbjerg, Stephen Bayley and Alexander Edmonds.
Trillions of dollars are spent on vanity megaprojects round the world, every year. Many of them go well over budget and deliver far fewer benefits than originally promised. So why is it that politicians and planners keep commissioning ever grander projects? Is it the same vanity that drives more and more of us to cosmetic surgery?
Joining Bridget Kendall are Danish authority on the pitfalls of megaprojects, Bent Flyvbjerg; British critic and curator Stephen Bayley, who has a special interest in design and architecture; and American anthropologist Alexander Edmonds, who takes us from vanity architecture to body shaping, as a means for self-promotion.
(Photo courtesy of Hulton Archive/ Getty Images)
60 Second Idea to Change the World
Bent Flyvbjerg suggests that, much like architects in ancient Greece, today's builders, architects and anyone who invests other people's money, ie bankers, politicians, project managers, should be required to put down a deposit, in the form of their own property, as security. If the finished cost over-run was less than 25%, the public purse would cover it. This is an acknowledgement that there are always unpredictabilities involved in any large projects. But if the cost exceeded the budget by more than 25%, the builder, politician or banker would forfeit his own deposit. In this way, we would all be much more careful in providing realistic estimates for projects and would have a tangible incentive to keep to them!
In Next Weeks’ Programme
Can you ever be free from the past? And if so, is it a good thing? With Libyan lawyer Elham Saudi, historian Suzanne Desan and president of PEN International, John Ralston Saul.