The World’s Infrastructure Laboratory

Our “Big Questions” series brings together leading scholars, former policymakers, and top industry experts to tackle critical questions. In the second part of this series, we asked five leading experts the following:

Asia is becoming the world’s infrastructure laboratory, with massive investments in roads, railways, ports, and other projects. Reflecting this trend, China overtook the United States as the global leader in built assets last year, while three of the top four per-capita leaders were also in the region (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan). Today, countries around the world are considering ramping up their infrastructure spending. What should they learn from Asia about the right and wrong ways to make these consequential investments?

In our first response, Dr. Atif Ansar and Dr. Bent Flyvbjerg discuss the risk that low-quality infrastructure investments poses to the Chinese economy.

In our second response, Ms. Motoko Aizawa argues for adopting people-centric practices in designing infrastructure.

In our third response, Dr. Genia Kostka reviews the strengths and weakness of China’s infrastructure boom, from its remarkable scale and speed to the ghost cities it has left behind.

In our fourth response, Dr. Georg Inderst evaluates whether or not there is an “Asian model” for infrastructure development and what lessons can be learned from contrasting Asia’s infrastructure experience both within the region and outside it.

Read our first Big Question here.