You know by now that I'm not a hugely impressed by boasts of "the biggest and best" and so it was ironic that my talk for the Economic Forum in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was on megaprojects. (Btw, I formulated the issue as "Civiilzing the Megaproject.") But since I focussed on the topic last month I have been noticing stories on megaprojects everywhere. For example: Mexico plans big splash with new Baja port.
Their dusty hamlet of about 2,500 souls will need to be reinvented as a modern city with massive upgrades to its roads, housing, water system and power supply. State and local officials are planning for a city of about 200,000 to spring up around the port.
It's interesting — and for better or worse is another question — that nowhere in the USA are we thinking of creating from scratch a "a city of about 200,000." A huge project here would be housing for ten or fifteen thousand. Here's an example of a project, which I believe everyone here would say is huge, but would hardly be noticed overseas:
The $4 billion development will encompass 336,000 square feet of office space, 6.36 million square feet of residential space (6,430 units of affordable, middle-income and market-rate housing), an 850,000-square-foot sports and entertainment arena, 247,000 square feet of retail space, a 165,000-square-foot hotel (180 rooms) and over 8 acres of intricately designed publicly accessible open space.
Interesting how the role of the USA is changing. And it will be interesting to see if the new cities being built from greenfields will amount to much as urban places.