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Contemporary Megaprojects

An Introduction

Seth Schindler, Simin Fadaee, and Dan Brockington

There is renewed interest in megaprojects worldwide. In contrast to high-modernist megaprojects that were discrete projects undertaken by centralized authorities, contemporary megaprojects are often decentralized and pursued by a range of stakeholders from governments as well as the private sector. They leverage cutting-edge technology to ‘see’ complex systems as legible and singular phenomena. As a result, they are more ambitious, more pervasive and they have the potential to reconfigure longstanding relationships that have animated social and ecological systems. The articles in this issue explore the novel features of contemporary megaprojects, they show how the proponents of contemporary megaprojects aspire to technologically enabled omnipresence, and they document the resistance that megaprojects have provoked.

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Pac’Stão versus the City of Police

Contentious Activism Facing Megaprojects, Authoritarianism, and Violence

Einar Braathen

This article analyzes community activism and state interventionism within a context of racialized and gendered violence that is both direct/physical and structural. It presents a case study of Manguinhos, a cluster of favelas in Rio de Janeiro experiencing the federal Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), which provided political opportunities for community contentions. A main finding is that an oligarchic-patrimonial system suppressed the participatory-democratic aspirations of the federal government and local activists alike. Nevertheless, new rounds of activism keep surging against a prevailing military-repressive logic. Observations and interviews from fieldwork have been supplemented with written sources—relevant public documents, media sources, and research publications.

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The Angry Earth

Wellbeing, Place and Extractivism in the Amazon

Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti

of their own ethos of wellbeing in spite of this is a public statement that they can live without receiving what these powerful outsiders owe them. In this context, the Ashaninka political struggle against extractive development and mega-projects, as

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Fuelling Capture: Africa's Energy Frontiers

Michael Degani, Brenda Chalfin, and Jamie Cross

-substitution and ideological postures such as socialist ‘self-reliance’ (see Lal 2012 ). These statist energy megaprojects were often premised on a massive amount of internal capture in the form of environmental destruction and local dispossession, albeit in a way

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Roads versus Rivers

Two Systems of Spatial Structuring in Northern Russia and Their Effects on Local Inhabitants

Kirill V. Istomin

natural if one can say so; it did not involve any mega-projects of the scale of the Northern Sea Route or the Great Northern Railroad. Isolated transport networks were developed locally in order to serve the needs of particular industrial projects

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The racial fix

White currency in the gentrification of black and Latino Chicago

Jesse Mumm

, and Puerto Rican residents, organizations, and leaders have not passively accepted gentrification and displacement. Residents have waged epic local battles against luxury megaprojects, demonstrations demanding affordable housing, and dozens of

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Fake buildings and gray development in Nairobi

Constance Smith

future are intimately entangled with the digital scenes of Vision 2030 that circulate throughout Nairobi. Buildings from Dubai In his work on urban megaprojects in Vietnam, Erik Harms has argued for the importance of examining “luxury and rubble” within

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Migration, residential investment, and the experience of “transition”

Tracing transnational practices of Albanian migrants in Athens

Gerda Dalipaj

only to earn money and improve personal living conditions but also to become in some way part of a megaproject of development (that transgressed all national borders). Achieving the status of documented migrant, having access to institutions in Greece