Mega-projects: How Different Are They, Really?
Mega-projects. The whole concept inspires a level of massiveness--epic, large, giant-scale projects that nearly defy human imagination. As well they should, because mega-projects are, well... big. Vast. Enormous. Why, I need a thesaurus simply to discuss them. But what is a mega-project? Why do we have them? And just how different are they from your regular, everyday, garden variety project?
Clearly, one large difference (pun sadly intended) is size. Mega-projects are measured on a scale that normal projects plainly are not. The normal guideline for a project to be considered “mega” is a budget in excess of $1 billion. Moreover, they tend to be highly visible, strategic undertakings. They exist because, sometimes, we need to build things on a really, really monstrous scale. And when you manage things that are that big, they are hard to keep under wraps. As a result, they have a larger impact than your typical project, and there is a great deal of sensitivity to how they are delivered (and whether or not they are successful).
When we think of mega-projects, we think of infrastructure developments. The channel tunnel between England and France, the Three Gorges Dam (and numerous other, lesser known but still as large) hydroelectric projects in China, the Confederation Bridge in Canada and the construction of the Denver International Airport in the United
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