CfP AAG 2015 – Chicago
Big projects, mega complexity, gigantic impacts
Christopher Gaffney (University of Zürich)
Eva Kassens-Noor (Michigan State)
Martin Müller (University of Zürich)
Mark Wilson (Michigan State)
Project and event gigantism have been part of human history for millennia. Historical geographers and archaeologists have long had an interest in large-scale monuments, transportation and defense infrastructure, religious centers, agriculture, and city-building projects. These complex human endeavors have always required the mobilization of wealth, power and labor of complex societies in order to be accomplished.
Recent years have seen a renewed surge in mega-projects, both in emerging economies and in the global North. Geographers and others have examined the multi-faceted nature of gigantism in large-scale projects (e.g. Altshuler and Luberoff 2003; Brunn 2011; Flyvbjerg, Bruzelius, and Rothengatter 2003), considering transportation systems (Rodrigues 2013), the political economy of hydroelectric dam construction (Webber 2012), the regional impacts of container ports (Veenstra and Notteboom 2011), the ecological implications of canal system expansion and development (Carse 2014; Meyer and Huete-Pérez 2014) and the urban, ecological, and political impacts of mega-events (Kassens-Noor 2012; Gaffney 2013; Müller 2014; Wilson 2013), among other large scale endeavors.
This session invites contributions that probe the rationales, governance, problems and impacts of large-scale projects and ways of reforming or resisting them. Who launches and pursues large-scale projects? For what reasons? What goes wrong and why? How can the status quo be changed and improved? The session aims to identify shared patterns but also crucial differences across cases, seeking to advance theorizing on large-scale projects.
We welcome papers that consider a broad range of large-scale projects with spatial implications, including but not limited to transport and energy infrastructure, urban (re-)development projects or mega-events.
If you are interested in participating in this session, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to Christopher Gaffney (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 October 2014. We will notify the authors of selected papers by 20 October 2014 and ask them to register on the AAG website and send us their pin by 01 November 2014.
- Altshuler, Alan, and David Luberoff. 2003. Mega-Projects: The Changing Politics of Urban Public Investment. Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution.
- Brunn, Stanley D., ed. 2011. Engineering Earth: The Impacts of Megaengineering Projects. Heidelberg: Springer.
- Carse, Ashley. 2014. Beyond the Big Ditch: Politics, Ecology, and Infrastructure at the Panama Canal. Infrastructures Series. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Flyvbjerg, Bent, Nils Bruzelius, and Werner Rothengatter. 2003. Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Gaffney, Christopher. 2013. “Between Discourse and Reality: The Un-Sustainability of Mega-Event Planning.” Sustainability 5 (9): 3926-3940.
- Kassens-Noor, Eva. 2012. Planning Olympic Legacies: Transport Dreams and Urban Realities. Routledge.
- Meyer, Axel, and Jorge A. Huete-Pérez. 2014. “Nicaragua Canal Could Wreak Environmental Ruin.” Nature 506 (7488): 287–89.
- Müller, Martin. 2014. “The Topological Multiplicities of Power: The Limits of Governing the Olympics.” Economic Geography 90 (3) 321-339.
- Rodrigue, Jean-Paul. 2013. The Geography of Transport Systems. Third edition. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
- Veenstra, Albert, and Theo Notteboom. 2011. “The Development of the Yangtze River Container Port System.” Journal of Transport Geography 19 (4): 772–81.
- Webber, Michael. 2012. “The Political Economy of the Three Gorges Project: Political Economy of the Three Gorges Project.” Geographical Research 50 (2): 154–65.
- Wilson, Mark. 2013. “The Human Side of Mega-Events.” In Brunn, Stanley. Engineering Earth? the impacts of Megaengineering projects. Dordrecht, NY: Springer.