Megaprojects and Risk provides the first detailed examination of the phenomenon of megaprojects. It is a fascinating account of how the promoters of multi-billion dollar megaprojects systematically and self-servingly misinform parliaments, the public and the media in order to get projects approved and built. It shows, in unusual depth, how the formula for approval is an unhealthy cocktail of underestimated costs, overestimated revenues, undervalued environmental impacts and overvalued economic development effects. This results in projects that are extremely risky, but where the risk is concealed from MPs, taxpayers and investors. The authors not only explore the problems but also suggest practical solutions drawing on theory and hard, scientific evidence from the several hundred projects in twenty nations and five continents that illustrate the book. Accessibly written, it will be the standard reference in its field for students, scholars, planners, economists, auditors, politicians and interested citizens for many years to come.
'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.' The Times, London '... impressive ... Get the book and read the story. It's megamazing.' Law Society Journal 'I will use this book for many years to come in my urban planning classes ... Anyone concerned with public works projects, planning, and ethics in public policy making should read this book. It provides a genuinely original perspective.' Martin Wachs, University of California, Berkeley 'This book is a warning against the betrayal of public trust when hubris and profit come together. It shows that some decisions are too important to be left only to the accredited experts; that there is no substitute for a post-normal science involving citizens' active participation ... We should all learn the lesson brought home by this book, and never accept uncritically the experts' 'magic numbers' that are used to justify megaprojects.' Silvio Funtowicz and Jerry Ravetz, authors of Uncertainty and Quality of Science for Policy 'Reading this fascinating story ... one is reminded of Enron and similar affairs ... recommends itself.' Professor Andreas Faludi, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands '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 'Megaprojects and Risk is an important and innovative book. It should be required reading for any serious student of planning and project management, as well as for professionals concerned with the planning and financing of public projects.' Sir Peter Hall, Institute of Community Studies, London '... should be required reading for anybody in government with any role of budgetary oversight.' Moneyweb 'The book is of enormous practical relevance, written by a team whose empirical engagement with their material - and what important empirical and theoretical material it is - is exemplary ... This is a social science that matters - because it makes a difference.' Stewart Clegg, School of Management, University of Technology, Sydney '... fascinating ... Do read this book.' Financial Express, India '... a thought-provoking book that presents a clear, concise, and readable argument to change the ways large infrastructure projects are managed around the world.' Environment & Planning 'For readers interested in project management, Megaprojects and Risk is a must.' Barbara Czarniawska, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Gothenburg University 'In particular, the aspect of unstoppable projects seems to be of pivotal interest and has been overlooked in literature on planning until recently. Flyvbjerg et al. fill this gap ... a fascinating reading that convincingly illustrates shortcomings, pitfalls and strategies of megaproject developments ... I can only recommend people to read this book even if planning, reform or risk analysis are currently only of remote interest to the reader - this book might change this.' British Journal of Sociology 'Many people talk about deliberative democracy, but few have actually done it. Megaprojects and Risk is an important contribution to the literature showing how it is possible for us to deliberate rationally and publicly about risk and those large scale decisions that are increasingly the concern of modern politics.' James Bohman, Department of Philosophy, St Louis University, Missouri 'Love them or loathe them, megaprojects capture the imagination ... And Bent 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 '... the book is convincing in methodological, theoretical and practical terms. Megaprojects and Risk is written in clear language and in a condensed way.' Town Planning Review 'Megaprojects and Risk provides a fascinating look at the pervasiveness of misinformation in the planning of major construction projects and the systematic bias of such misinformation toward justifying project implementation. The power of its analysis is vastly reinforced by the range of cases examined, extending over seventy 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, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 'Flyvbjerg is calling for an independent auditing body, such as the Audit Commission, to assess costings on publicly funded megaprojects before they win approval, not after they have run into trouble.' Architects Journal '... shocking ...' Building Magazine 'Megaprojects and Risk is an important and interesting book on a subject that deserves far greater attention than it has received hitherto. The material is by nature inter disciplinary and is, therefore, of interest to a wide readership, including project managers, policy analysts, planners, civil engineers, sociologists and political scientists, as well as geographers ... It is concise and clear ... the subject matter is extremely interesting, timely and relevant ... perhaps the best thing to be said of the book is that it stimulates thought and suggests greater study, perhaps beyond the immediate concerns of the authors.' Geographical Journal 'Messrs. Flyvbjerg, Bruzeloius and Rothengatter of Denmark, Sweden and Germany, respectively, have evidently tried to strike a raw nerve by subtitling their book, Megaprojects and Risk - An Autonomy of Ambition. As development planners and transportation economists ... the trio have not spared any punches in linking the failure of megaprojects to human greed.' The Financial Express '... a masterful book ... should be required reading.' The Public Purpose '... a fascinating account of how promoters of multibillion dollar megaprojects systematically and self-servingly misinform Parliaments, the public and the media, to get projects approved and built.' Asia Intelligence '... intriguing.' Washington Post '... a devastating new piece of research ... Professor Slyvbjerg is one of those pesky academics who beaver away, asking difficult questions, until suddenly a host of seemingly random incidents form a pattern - just call him the Inspector Morse of cost overruns in mega building projects.' The Scotsman '...a valuable warning to all involved in planning and decision making on major projects of the pitfalls that lie before them.' Public Administration '... one of the most important contributions to the governance of costs that has appeared for many years. With the global collapse of many large organizations, due in large measure to taking their eye off of the costs of doing business, this book is most timely ... carefully crafted ... very detective-like ... powerful.' Transport Reviews '... groundbreaking ... provide[s] fresh perspectives and new insights into the forces that are shaping contemporary public works projects.' Kenneth Orski, Innovation Briefs 'The critique and analysis of [this book] is an important addition to our understanding of large-scale undertakings and should be read by analysist and policy-makers alike.' Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 'Megaprojects provides a fascinating and important analysis of the huge infrastructure projects, typically in but not confined to transport. It should be required reading for anyone with an interest in (or anything to do with) infrastructure project development and implem