Lessons For Greenfield Megaprojects

May 26, 2020 | 9am PDT | 12pm EDT

Having seen COVID-19 disrupt the very functioning of cities worldwide, what would we do differently if we built a new city from scratch? While many of us are grappling with how to transform age-old systems to better serve citizens in the wake of a global pandemic, greenfield megaprojects around the globe have the unique and unprecedented opportunity of starting with a blank slate. Having this freedom enables the synthesis of best practices and bleeding-edge solutions in everything from health to climate resilience to cleantech. It also raises the question of who will finance and build and benefit from this optimization — the wealthy who typically inhabit these places, or the public as part of a green new deal?

In this episode of The Big Rethink, we’ll discuss how greenfield city planners are trying to pandemic-proof their projects on the fly, and what lessons they’re learning from elsewhere when it comes to reinventing critical infrastructure. We’ll also explore the future trajectory of these developments. Having already been criticized as exclusionary, will COVID-19 provide a new pretext for discrimination? Will global elites flock to new gated communities? Or will governments and investors work together to pilot novel combinations of low-carbon infrastructure, planning for public health, and accessibility?

Greg Clark
Global Head, Future Cities & New Industries, HSBC

Satish Kamat
President of Sri City near Chennai, India

Carlo Ratti
Director, MIT Senseable City Lab, Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati

Sarah Moser
Associate Fellow, Greenfield Cities and Host, NewCities