It’s a Big World After all

Big Projects are happening all over the world. Skyscrapers, wind farms, massive tunnels, megalopolises.

And they are not limited to this time and place, either. People are already dreaming of Big Projects for the future, as well. Want to go into space? It may be an elevator that will get you there;  according to this article, it’s not necessarily science fiction.

Retro advertisement for a Space Elevator
(Credit: LiftPort Group)

As our mega projects interviewees dot their i’s and cross their t’s in their interviews we’ll post next, we wanted to take this moment to see what Big Projects are being built in other parts of the world and what Big Projects we could see years from now. We’re a global society, after all. And other nations are facing the same challenges as we are, such as meeting ever-growing transportation and energy demands. The Millennium Project, for instance, lists 15 global challenges, such as having enough clean water and bringing population growth and resources into balance.

So, yes, the world has a lot on its plate.

But there are Big Projects – either planned on or in the works – that hope to tackle these issues. To meet energy demands and put a dent in climate change, for instance, many nations are diversifying their energy sources. Major solar plants and wind farms are being built all around the world. One effort, called the Desertic Industrial Initiative, calls for the building of a string of wind farms and solar plants across Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Concept of a solar farm in the Sahara Desert
(Credit: http://www.rechargenews.com)

As here in the United States, these efforts – as we found out from our look at the Big Dig, Boston’s massive tunneling project – don’t always go as planned. Indeed, one expert put the rate of failure of the world’s mega projects at 65 percent. Failures include cost over-runs – that was the Big Dig’s biggest flaw, some argue – and longer than expected execution time.

Despite such setbacks, we keep trying. Take the ambitious Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland. At a cost of $10 billion, it will be the longest rail tunnel in the world – 34.5 miles long. It’s due to open in 2016. China is working on a plan to merge nine cities, creating the largest mega-city in the world, with a population of 42 million people. And people still like to build up, up and up. The Gran Torre Santiago is being built in Chili and will be the tallest skyscraper in Latin America. And here are 10 more that skyscrapers that are being built.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel
(Credit: civilengineerblogger.blogspot.com)

It seems pretty obvious that mega-projects, despite having their critics, will continue. And some of the Big Projects being conceptualized for tomorrow may put the ones that are currently in progress to shame – if they can be realized. For instance, the idea for a bridge or a tunnel at the Bering Strait, which connects Asia to the U.S., is still being talked about despite the engineering, cost and climate challenges of such a construction effort.

One conceptual design for a bridge across the Bering Strait.
(Credit: http://www.engineeringtheimpossible.6te.net)

Our imaginations appear pretty much limitless. A Japanese firm, for instance, envisions wrapping a ring of solar panels around the moon, and then transporting the energy it captures back to earth.

So, as you can see, Big Projects remain a vital part of our world. We will continue to explore them later this month on the Collaborative Services’ blog and concentrate on the communications efforts they require.

Mike Stetz, Senior Writer
Collaborative Services, Inc.

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