Policy and Planning for Large-Infrastructure Projects: Problems, Causes, and Curses

Thomas L. Harper, Michael Hibbard, Heloisa Costa, and Anthony Gar-On Yeh, eds., Dialogues in Urban Regional Planning, vol. 4, New York: Routledge, pp. 223-248

35 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013 Last revised: 21 Apr 2016

See all articles by Bent Flyvbjerg

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: January 1, 2011

Abstract

This chapter focuses on problems and their causes and cures in policy and planning for large-infrastructure projects. First, it identifies as the main problem in major infrastructure developments pervasive misinformation about the costs, benefits, and risks involved. A consequence of misinformation is cost overruns, benefit shortfalls, and waste. Second, it explores the causes of misinformation and finds that political-economic explanations best account for the available evidence: planners and promoters deliberately misrepresent costs, benefits, and risks in order to increase the likelihood that their projects, and not those of their competition, that gain approval and funding. This results in the ‘survival of the unfittest’, in which often it is not the best projects that are built, but the most misrepresented ones. Finally, it presents measures for reforming policy and planning for large-infrastructure projects with a focus on better planning methods and changed governance structures, the latter being more important.

Suggested Citation

Flyvbjerg, Bent, Policy and Planning for Large-Infrastructure Projects: Problems, Causes, and Curses (January 1, 2011). Thomas L. Harper, Michael Hibbard, Heloisa Costa, and Anthony Gar-On Yeh, eds., Dialogues in Urban Regional Planning, vol. 4, New York: Routledge, pp. 223-248. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2278197

Bent Flyvbjerg (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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