The World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS: 2019-2040’s (Season 2 – Complete)


These are the most ambitious megaprojects
in development around the world. No other country, with the exception of China
and perhaps India, is undergoing a bigger building boom than Turkey. The Turkish government is overseeing a $400
billion spending spree on infrastructure that it hopes will lay the groundwork for a rapid
economic rise. The impressive list of projects includes: The $49 billion Istanbul New Airport that’s
about half complete. It’ll replace the 93 year old Ataturk Airport
and, with a passenger capacity of 150 million a year, it will be one of the planet’s busiest. Istanbul’s advantageous geographical location
also helps. “Istanbul, as a hub, is definitely much
better location than Doha and Dubai, or Abu Dhabi, so we have these certain advantages
compared to other countries.” The $5 Billion Istanbul Finance Center will
centralize Turkish investment banking, much like New York City’s Wall Street does for
the United States. A 48 km canal is being built alongside the
Bosphorous strait that divides not only the city of Istanbul, but the continents of Europe
and Asia. At a cost of $10 billion, even Turkey’s
President calls it a “crazy project.” Then there’s the $45 billion high speed
rail system that at 10,000 km will be the longest in Europe and the second-longest in
the world behind China. The $6.5 billion Istanbul-Izmir Motorway Project
is a six-lane highway that will connect the eastern edge of Istanbul to the Izmir province
on the Aegean coast. Turkey will become a regional energy hub thanks
to a $10 billion natural gas pipeline that will connect Azerbaijan’s production facilities
with consumers in Europe. Adding to its energy portfolio will be a $5.5
billion refinery on its west coast that, when finished, will be the largest in the country. Turkey is also beefing up its armed forces,
spending $7 billion to cluster its defense and aerospace industries so it can increase
production and exports to the international market. It has also committed more than $1 billion
to develop an independent Turkish space program with the goal of launching 20 satellites into
orbit by 2020. All of these projects come on the heels of
the completion in 2016 of both the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and the Eurasia Tunnel, two Megaprojects
passing over and under the Bosphorus strait. But the country’s main project is much more
practical. At a cost of more than $200 billion, Turkey
will demolish and reconstruct seven million buildings throughout the country. Why? Because the majority of structures do not
meet basic safety standards in a region prone to devastating earthquakes. Government edicts state that the need to implement
the urban renewal plan overrules all existing laws that would’ve prevented people’s
houses and apartment buildings from being torn down. The reasons for the MegaProject boom are complicated. Yes, Turkey needs to modernize, and the quickest
way to do it is for the government to have a strong hand in guiding the nation toward
prosperity. But it’s also a blatant attempt by the Turkish
President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – in power since 2003 – to maintain control over the
country by promising economic success. Not only is Erdoğan raising legitimate questions
about corruption, his strongman approach is trampling the rights of individuals and local
municipalities. On top of that his projections are unrealistically
optimistic. Erdoğan says the country can become a top
10 world economy by 2023–which happens to be the 100th anniversary of the modern Turkish
republic, and would mark 20-years of his rule. A simple look at where Turkey currently sits
on the list of countries ranked by their GDP reveals that it’s economy would have to
more than double in less than 6 years, while the economies of Canada and South Korea completely
stagnate. That’s simply not going to happen. This high-stakes game was laid bare a couple
months ago when Erdoğan narrowly escaped succumbing to a coup that would have seen
the country descend into violent internal conflict and even civil war. Sharing its southern border with Syria and
Iraq is only adding to the country’s instability. All of these factors make Turkey one of the
most fascinating countries to keep a close eye on in the next decade, and is why we led
off this series, our latest profiling the world’s future Megaprojects, focused on
the building boom originating in Istanbul. NASA’s three-phase plan to put humans on
Mars by the year 2040 proves that not all mega-projects are earthbound. Step one is for Lockheed Martin to complete
the $20 billion Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. It will be the first modern spacecraft capable
of carrying humans beyond where the International Space Station currently exists in low earth
orbit, to reach asteroids and—eventually—the Red Planet. For these trips, astronauts will need a vehicle
that can support them for extended periods of time, while protecting them and their equipment
from radiation, extreme temperatures, and micrometeoroid strikes. But the NASA/Lockheed collaboration has competition. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has grabbed headlines
with his announcement that its Dragon 2 spacecraft will fly two private citizens on a five day
trip around the moon and back. The target launch for the mission is 2018. Although that timeline may be overly optimistic
given that SpaceX has not yet flown a single manned mission, NASA—in a statement—praised
its industry partner for “reaching higher,” and vowed to work closely with SpaceX to ensure
it safely “returns the launch of astronauts to U.S. soil.” For his part, in deference to his company’s
close partnership with the American space agency, Musk said he’s willing to bump the
two space tourists—who’ve already paid a significant deposit—to a later flight. “NASA always has first priority…So if NASA
decides to have the first mission of this nature be a NASA mission, then of course NASA
would take priority.” But regardless of who gets around the moon
first, the big prize is Mars. 75,000,000 km from Earth, it’s 195x farther
than the moon. To study the effects on the human body of
spending months in space, astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko spent over 11
months living on the ISS. Kelly actually grew two inches during his
prolonged time in microgravity. He shrunk back to his normal height two days
after returning to earth. NASA is also using Mars Mission simulations—in
which research subjects spend months together in Hawaii isolated from the outside world—to
figure out the best way to handle the unique psychological burdens of the long journey. And that’s where the mission to Mars starts
to run into serious challenges. One look at the Orion and Dragon crafts reveals
that even if the scientists and engineers get everything else right about the journey,
there simply is not enough room for multiple human beings to live together for a nine month
each-way trip to Mars—unless the mission is to drive the astronauts completely insane. NASA’s going to tackle this problem in the
next decade by capturing an asteroid and placing it in orbit around the moon, and then docking
with it and collecting samples. This mission will be a test run for longer
trips away from Earth, deep space walking techniques, and Solar Electric Propulsion,
all of which will need to be perfected before any human mission to Mars can move forward. NASA calls the third and final phase of putting
astronauts on Mars Earth Independent. Thanks to successful missions like the Curiosity
rover, we’ve already begun to learn a ton about potential exploration zones. The next NASA rover is scheduled to touch
down in 2020, and will have company. Europe, China, India, the United Arab Emirates,
and SpaceX all plan on taking advantage of the summer 2020 launch window—when the planets
will be at their shortest distances from one another—to deliver rovers and orbiters to
the Red Planet. The 2020 rover will help NASA figure out the
entry, descent, and landing techniques needed to get down to the Martian surface from orbit,
and to learn what’s needed to live off the land. NASA is also planning a round-trip robotic
mission that will return to Earth with samples sometime in the late 2020’s. But to make that defining moment in human
history happen, when a human foot steps down on Martian soil, NASA will have to overcome
two massive challenges that could make this one of the most expensive megaprojects in
human history: designing a spacecraft that can support a survivable trip to Mars and
back, and designing a propulsion system that can deliver that craft, and then bring it
home. Given the daunting challenges, the trip to
Mars seems like the perfect opportunity for national governments to put aside our differences
and our instincts to compete with each other, and instead form a global space agency. That way we can make sure our precious resources
here on Earth are being used most efficiently. If “one small step for man, one giant leap
for mankind” was true for Neil Armstrong’s touchdown on the moon, imagine the worldwide
impact of the first step on Mars. This is Lagos, Nigeria the largest city in
Africa. Home to more than 22 million people, it’s
facing a perfect storm of challenges. So let’s look at how this megacity is trying
to modernize. The biggest challenge Nigeria faces is a population
pyramid that’s overwhelmingly bottom heavy. 61% are younger than 25—that’s a lot of
jobs to create and houses to build in the coming years. This problem is made worse by the extremely
poor condition of the city’s infrastructure. Badly designed and maintained motorways cause
people to endure agonizing commute times, and interrupted access to electricity causes
regular blackouts. Add in the threat of a rising ocean that’s
steadily eroding the coastline, and the future of this place looks bleak. But perspective is relative, so let’s gain
some. 165 years ago Lagos was an island fortress
and one of the principal roots of the slave trade, until the British navy bombarded it
into submission and abolished the practice. But slavery wasn’t outlawed in Northern
Nigeria until 1936. That means any Nigerian older than 85 can
probably still remember slavery, or was a slave themselves. In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from
the British. But, the country quickly became engulfed in
a civil war that killed as many as 3 million people. In the dark aftermath of this bloody conflict
the country had one thing going for it: oil, which provided a consistent source of income. But the temptation of controlling all that
black gold attracted deeply corrupt men, and Nigeria endured decades of violent struggles
between power-mad dictators and military officers. With just two legitimate presidential elections
under its belt, in 2011 and 2015, Nigeria has only had six years of truly peaceful,
independent — not completely corrupt — democratic rule in its entire history. All this upheaval was amplified by strong
ethnic and religious divisions throughout the country. So for the federal government to appear legitimate,
the capital had to move away from Lagos to a more centralized, neutral part of the country. Following in the footsteps of Brazil’s master-planned
capital, Brasilia, the Nigerians built an entire city from scratch during the 1980’s. The relocation of thousands of government
workers drove migration to this new capital, Abuja, the fastest growing city in the world
from 2000 to 2010. Unfortunately, while Abuja thrived, Lagos
languished. With the city far away now it became even
easier for deeply corrupt federal officials to neglect the megacity’s needs. But the its downward spiral is quickly changing
direction thanks — largely — to one man, the current governor of the state of Lagos,
Akinwunmi Ambode. Ambode earned his Master’s in accounting
from the University of Lagos and studied abroad in England, Switzerland, Singapore, and at
the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Boston. [Osoba]: “Everything about this man is outstanding,
everything about him… He is someone who does not leave a place without
changing it for the better.” Now 53 — with a long career serving the
people of Lagos under his belt — Ambode hit the ground running upon his election in
2015. He immediately began holding regular town
hall meetings. This helped him tailor his plans to best affect
positive change for citizens that they could see and feel. He installed a team of competent deputies
who’ve helped him implement his mega-master plan of targeted micro projects to drastically
improve conditions throughout the city. Lagosians are already feeling the benefits
of his less than two years in office. [Citizen of Lagos]: “Today we are happy
because the government have done a perfect job here. Now we can have a good access roads to get
to our homes. And you can see business around this area,
they are doing very well.” By making road fixes his first major task,
Ambode wisely accomplished several important things that any new leader should immediately
set out to do: 1) He gave his team a series of small, achievable
goals to accomplish, allowing him time to weed out bad people and fix flawed management
processes that bog down efficiency. 2) He gave himself some time to become comfortable
in his new executive role and familiarize himself with the levers of power. And 3) He gained the trust of the people by
doing something simple, but important: completing a project that everyone wanted, on-time and
on-budget. Now that his government is working well, Ambode
is well positioned to tackle much more complex problems like improving the efficiency of
the bus system; building a massive urban rail system; providing all citizens with uninterrupted
access to electricity; cleaning up Lagos’ badly polluted environment; partnering with
private industry to try and give all Lagosians access to affordable food, housing, and health
care; and improving the pay of police, first responders, and security personnel. In addition to the construction of several
bridges and other traffic improvements, Lagos is also installing 6,000 new street lights
and 13,000 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and security sensors for surveillance
and crime prevention. These efforts are working: Lagos was named
the most security and safety-conscious state in all of Africa last year, and Ambode was
named Nigerian governor of the year. By leading the mega-overhaul in the way civil
society conducts itself, Ambode represents one half of the equation in creating a modern
Nigeria. He also seems perfectly positioned to go on
to serve as President and lead his people on their quest to claim their rightful place
as Africa’s powerhouse country. The other half of this modernization equation
rests largely on the success of two key mega-projects under construction in Lagos and Abuja: Eko
Atlantic, a financial hub that’s being built on reclaimed land along the coast; and Centenary
City, a gated luxury mini-city outside of Abuja where elites will live and stay while
conducting business in the capital. [Builder] “The goal is to establish Lagos
as the financial hub and commercial hub of the continent of Africa.” Geographically, Nigeria is centrally-positioned
to lead Africa’s emergence in the second half of the century, but it must approach
development carefully. With many parts of Lagos, and the rest of
the country, living in squalor without good jobs or adequate housing, spending tens of
billions of dollars to build playgrounds for the rich runs the risk of making the majority
of the Nigerian people feel neglected, and angry. In fact, the Centenary City project in Abuja
is already tainted by allegations of corruption. Another challenge facing Lagos is the unstoppable
rising sea level, which will eventually submerge most of the existing city. It faces the same dilemma as many other coastal
metropolises around the world: stop building on land that will likely be completely underwater
by the end of the century and start building inland, or live for the immediate future by
building where people want to live now, along the waterfront. I’m confident that you’ll be hearing a
lot more about Nigeria and it’s rising star, Governor Ambode, as the confronts these challenges
head-on in the years ahead. The total population of Africa is projected
to roughly quadruple to about 4 billion by 2100, driving the total global population
past 11 billion. Producing the energy that all these people
will use could obliterate any efforts we’re now making to battle climate change. But Africa’s population explosion is also
a tremendous opportunity: because all the power plants where all these people will get
all their electricity from haven’t been built yet. This means humanity is now being presented
with a once-in-the-lifetime-of-our-species shot to make our planet’s fastest growing
region leapfrog the dirty fuels of the past, to embrace a future of clean, renewable energy. This is a quick look at how that optimistic
vision of the future can become reality. The residents of Zambia don’t need any reminders
that climate change threatens their way of life. The region is suffering its worst drought
in 35 years, that’s big trouble for a country that gets nearly all of its power from the
force of water passing through three hydroelectric dams. No water means no electricity, and no electricity
means blackouts that have frequently brought commerce and productivity to a standstill,
gutting the Zambian economy and causing many to lose their jobs. All across Africa, countries are confronting
the same problem: a constant lack-of-power. Sub Saharan Africa — all 910 million people
— consumes less electricity than the 4.8 million people of Alabama. Overall, more than half of all Africans have
no access to electricity. But this is changing, thanks to the emergence
of renewable energy. The cost of building larger-scale solar panel
and wind turbine farms continues to plummet, making governments and utilities more likely
to choose them over traditional sources like hydro, coal, nuclear or natural gas. As we saw with the water shortage in Zambia
— or the nuclear meltdown a few years ago after the earthquake in Japan — power stations
of the past are less reliable, more expensive, far worse for our environment, and slower
to build. So this seems like a no-brainer, Africa needs
to go green, baby! There’re just three problems. One, until now planners have lacked the necessary
data to identify where to develop wind and solar projects that are socially equitable,
have low-environmental impact, and are most cost-effective. This problem was recently tackled by a groundbreaking
study of 21 countries that combined satellite and ground measurements with geospatial data
on roads, towns, and existing power lines. It provides the first blueprint for where
wind and solar projects should be built to maximize their effectiveness. The study also revealed Africa’s eye-opening,
untapped potential for renewable energy generation. There are an estimated 550 million megawatts
of potential solar and wind power spread across the continent, just waiting to be harvested. That’s 3,700 times as much electricity as
Africa currently consumes. That’s so much extra energy, that Africa
should aim to be powered 100% by renewables by 2050. It’s even possible for Africa to become
a clean energy exporting superpower by sending its abundant surpluses of electricity to Europe;
the Middle East, India and the rest of Asia; and even the Americas. Of course, this is dependent on overcoming
the second major challenge: the continent’s completely inadequate power grid. Modernizing it to connect clean power stations
with cities all over Africa will be a long-term megaproject costing tens of billions of dollars
in the coming decades. For fast-growing urban areas — like Lagos,
Cairo, Kinshasa, Mogadishu, and Johannesburg — uninterrupted electricity is critical
for the emerging industries that will fuel economic growth and provide jobs for billions. On the other hand, most Africans currently
live in small villages and towns, so their energy needs can be met by inexpensive solar
and wind turbine systems that are located on-site, but are disconnected from the main
grid. The challenge will be connecting cities — where
more and more people are moving — with the mega-power stations that will often be built
far away, in geographical sweet spots to maximize the amount of harvestable solar rays and wind
gusts. This brings us to the third problem: money. African governments don’t have much to spare,
so if we’re expecting it to fund this clean energy transition — one of the most expensive
endeavors in human history — we should just keep on dreaming. Organizations like the World Bank understand
this. In 2015 it created the Scaling Solar program
to help investors partner with African nations that are looking to go green, but are often
seen as risky places to start a large project. If ideas like this prove successful, it will
hopefully lead to a huge influx of private capital in the coming years. Another strategy is for wealthier nations
to provide the money, understanding that every time an African country chooses clean over
dirty energy, the entire world is a little better off in the long run. The U.N.’s Green Climate Fund is intended
to be the centerpiece for this action. It hoped to raise hundreds of billions of
dollars by 2020. But so far it has received just $10 billion
from countries. US President Obama transferred $500 million
into the fund in his final week in office, then handed the government of the world’s
richest country over to a climate change denier, so it’s unlikely the US will be contributing
more any time soon. Still, while progress may be held back for
a few years, it is an undeniable fact that helping Africa go green is best for everyone
in the long-term. Time will tell if we’re able to seize this
moment. But every single day that passes without action,
every time a baby is born in Africa, the pressure on governments to pull energy from the ground
increases, and the window of opportunity for a clean future closes a little bit more. We love to take sci fi adventures through
space, but the reality of how we’ll someday explore worlds beyond our solar system will
be much different than the cryogenically-induced slumbers astronauts take in the movies. This is how the spacecrafts of the future
will probably look. Instead of a team of astronauts, it’s cargo
will include tiny sensors, a camera, and a plutonium battery. Instead of rocket fuel, it will be propelled
by a 4-meter-wide sail that will catch concentrated laser beams so powerful they haven’t been
invented yet. This most interesting megaproject of the future,
a real Hail Mary, is called Breakthrough Starshot. It’s mission? To give us our first view of a planet outside
the Solar System. Last year researchers announced the discovery
of Proxima b, a potentially Earth-like planet orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri,
part of a triple-star system that’s closest to our own Sun. It’s our next-door-neighbor! This gave interstellar explorers searching
for extraterrestrial life their first truly appealing target, one that could — theoretically
— be reached in our lifetimes. The project is backed by a $100 million investment
from Russian billionaire Yuri Milner: “This is something that people have been
dreaming and thinking about for thousands of years. The first one to propose that type of project
was Johannes Kepler in 1610 and there were many smart people after him. So we’re sort of standing on the shoulders
of giants. But only in the last fifteen years it became
practically possible to talk about this project. And we know that this is just the beginning. We know it will take a long time, probably
a generation, to actually launch a spacecraft that can travel interstellar. But we do know that the time is to start now
given that technology is available and it’s mostly an engineering challenge and not a
scientific challenge.” Milner’s $100 million is just a down payment
to spur development of the tech needed to launch the mission within 20 years. The project’s total cost will be in the
ten billion dollar range. Here’s how it will work. A chip about one-centimeter wide will carry
circuitry, thrusters, a camera, spectrometer, plutonium battery, and a laser beam to send
data back to Earth. It will be surrounded by a sail. An array of lasers back on Earth will beam
it up to a speed of roughly 20% the speed of light. At that speed, it will take the craft just
three-and-a-half days to reach the edge of the solar system. Five months later it will reach the treacherous
Oort cloud — trillions of icy objects surrounding the Solar System that will take seven-and-a-half
years to pass through. If it emerges intact it will then journey
for another 13 years before encountering the Proxima Centauri system. But it won’t stay long. Traveling so fast, with no way to slow down,
it will scream through the star system in just two hours, giving it a brief window of
opportunity to capture data, which will take four years to transmit back to Earth. Sounds simple right? Until you think about all the hurdles. All this technology — from the lasers to
the craft itself — doesn’t exist yet. The good news is that initial research on
sail-based laser propulsion looks promising. The bad news is that the lasers needed to
propel the sail are 1 million times more powerful than what’s currently available. The lasers will hit the craft with g-forces
tens of thousands of times stronger than anything we feel on earth. Artillery shells can take this level of force
for less than a second. Starshot will need to withstand it for minutes. Any object — even a speck of space dust
— could easily destroy the probe, or if it somehow survives a collision, send it careening
off course. The interstellar medium is the vast unknown. The first and only manmade object to reach
interstellar space is the Voyager 1 probe, launched in 1977. It took the iconic pale blue dot image of
planet Earth in 1990 and crossed the heliosphere in 2012 and is still active. Breakthrough Starshot will launch exploratory
probes as soon as a prototype propulsion system is complete. While Voyager took incredible photos of the
Solar System, no camera has ever taken a photo while traveling at one-fifth the speed of
light. No manmade object has ever even travelled
the fast period. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be transmitting
any photos and data it does collect back to Earth. Fitting a power source on an already crowded
centimeter-wide chip capable of shooting a laser back home to us doesn’t seem possible. That’s why it’s best to think about this
project in the broader context of space exploration. Even if it fails, simply attempting to solve
the seemingly impossible always has residual benefits, just like the space race and moon
missions did. There are other efforts underway to reach
Proxima b up close, including sending a larger, nuclear-fusion-powered spacecraft. But that mission wouldn’t launch for a century. Another hope for taking a peek at Proxima
b lies with several giant telescopes coming online in the next decade, including the James
Webb, scheduled to launch late next year. But as Voyager demonstrated time and again,
there’s nothing like going to a new place. Which sport do you think will be played in
the most expensive stadium ever built? If you said American football, you’re right. This is the story of Atlanta’s $1.6 billion
Mercedes Benz Stadium that’s set to open by the end of the summer. It will be home to the world’s most spectacular
roof and will be the first NFL stadium to achieve the highest certification in Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design. “For a roof to open in this fashion, with
eight petals that actually move in a straight line, we can’t find another precedent ever
in the world.” The roof was inspired by the oculus in the
ancient Roman Pantheon and takes the retractable concept to a whole other level. The first retractable roof in a major sports
venue was Civic Arena — home to the Pittsburgh Penguins — and the first large stadium to
have a ceiling that opened to the stars was Toronto’s SkyDome. Not only will Mercedes Benz have the most
complex roof ever constructed, but it’s ridiculous 58-foot-tall halo video board will
be three times larger than the one in Jacksonville, the reigning king of LED displays. The project also landed the city the Atlanta
United, an MLS expansion franchise that began play this year. Mechanized curtains will cover the upper deck
during matches, providing the more intimate feel common to other MLS venues. This entire stadium effort doubles down on
the success of its predecessor, The Georgia Dome. It was the only facility in the world to play
host to the Olympics, Super Bowl, and Final Four. Atlanta’s centralized location is part of
the secret to its success as a sports mecca. It has by far the busiest airport in the United
States, making it the most convenient spot in the country to travel to. The new stadium is already scheduled to hold
championships for the next three years: 2018’s College Football Playoff National Championship,
Super Bowl LIII in 2019, and the 2020 NCAA Final Four. [Falcons’ Owner Arthur Blank] “I think
downtown Atlanta is very unique, I think the stadium itself is very unique. I think it sends the right message to many
cities in terms of public-private partnerships that are honored in the NFL. As co-founder of The Home Depot in 1978, Blank
has built an empire selling quality products that people use everyday. To achieve the elusive platinum LEED certification,
the stadium is using tons of recyclable materials and will have 4,000 solar panels to generate
enough renewable electricity to power nine Falcons home games. Overall it will use 29% less electricity than
a baseline stadium of its size. It will collect millions of gallons of rainwater
for HVAC cooling towers and for irrigating the surrounding landscape that will include
edible blueberry bushes and apple trees. The project was even recognized by the Obama
administration for its commitment to sustainability. [Stadium General Manager Scott Jenkins] “It
became apparent that platinum was within reach and that really excited me to know that we
could be the first professional stadium to reach platinum. That’s why I came here from Seattle, I wanted
to be a part of this project, because of Arthur’s commitment to quality and Arthur’s commitment
to doing the right thing.” The stadium will be financed by about $550
million of public money, with the majority coming from a tax on local hotel bookings
through the year 2050. This funding scheme makes sense from a local
perspective, let the out of town visitors pay for it. It also seems like a win-win for Atlanta residents
and their city council members who approved the project. Still, $550 million is a lot of money for
citizens of the state of Georgia to spend on a stadium, especially one whose primary
tenant will be the richest sports league in the world. That 7% tax on hotel rooms could’ve gone
to many other things that would enrich people’s lives more in the long run rather than the
immediate gratification of building a shrine to sports stars. Still, hosting so many massive events will
also have economic benefits for the city, not to mention the pride and prestige it will
add to downtown. Atlanta quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Matt
Ryan — who was just one magical Tom Brady drive away from a championship — summed
up the excitement surrounding the new stadium: [Matt Ryan] “Atlanta’s such a great town. And for hosting events that are coming in
this stadium’s going to be unbelievable. But for us to have it as our home field, it’s
gonna be the best in the NFL. It’ll be fun, it’ll be fun to play in
it and it’s gonna be a great home field advantage for us.” India loves megaprojects. The country’s $90 billion Delhi-Mumbai industrial
corridor is one of the most ambitious, expensive endeavors in human history. Completing 1,500 kilometers of new railway
and more than 20 brand new cities will set the stage for India to become a manufacturing
superpower in the next two decades. It’s so important I made a video all about
it a couple years ago, it’s linked below. Now, the corridor may be vital to India’s
future economy, but it’s not the project that will deliver the largest day-to-day improvement
in quality of life. Neither will a new mega-airport under construction
in Mumbai, or World One—the largest residential tower in the world, or even a 500 km high
speed rail line planned for India’s west coast. No, the project Indians need most is more
basic than all that: it’s hundreds of thousands of kilometers of paved roads. Like the rest of the world, the Indian people
have fallen in love with driving. But there currently aren’t enough reliable
highways to hold all the cars in a country of 1.3 billion people and growing. The good news is that the Indian government
has learned one of the key economic lessons of modern history: that the not-so-secret
ingredient of America’s dominance over the last half century is our vast network of well-maintained
streets and highways. Roads allow us to move ourselves — and all
of our goods — fluidly from city to city, from fields to towns to air and sea ports,
and beyond. China learned this lesson a while ago. They’ve spent tens of billions of dollars
on roadways over the past two decades as their economy boomed. Now that its transportation infrastructure
is maturing, the Chinese are positioned for rapid development. India wants to follow the same blueprint and
is in the midst of a sustained, years-long, multi-tens of billions of dollars megaproject
to do just that. India has about the same population as China,
but double the density. Get this, of the five most-densely populated
cities in the world with more than four million residents, four of them are in India, including
the planet’s most crowded megacity, Mumbai. So with much less land to work with, India’s
challenge will be expanding, modernizing, and widening its existing network of roads,
which, on the plus side, is already quite extensive. On the downside, 40% of it is dirt. Without good roads, the country is less unified
because its people and goods can’t move around freely enough, especially to and from
rural areas. Currently, national highways connecting major
cities with ports and rail junctions carry 40% of all passenger and freight traffic,
but make up just 1.5% of the total road network, leading to horrible traffic congestion on
these crucial arteries. One of the new roads in the megaproject that’s
already completed is a $2B expressway that slashed the travel time between Delhi to Agra
by up to four hours. But barbed wire fencing all along the route
keeps it clear of the people and slow-moving vehicles that crowd the rest of India’s
roads, and high tolls mean it’s used only for the rich. This undercuts the whole purpose of the road:
to alleviate congestion on the rest of the roads. The predictable result of this segregation
is that the highway is being used far less than it should be. Challenges like this will need to be addressed
and overcome by the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who’s a big fan of
megaprojects, and has maintained his commitment to the ambitious goal of completing 18,500
kilometers of controlled-access highway. One of the main obstacles to achieving this
vision is that the megaproject suffers from chronic underfunding and the disappointment
of only reaching about half its construction goals, year-after-year. Part of the problem that’s holding it back
is the financing model, which is flawed. Using Public Private Partnerships to build
toll roads doesn’t work if the road’s profitability is depressed because not enough
people can afford the expensive access fees. Potential investors see this and are scared
away—no firm wants to sink significant time and capital into a project that will lose
it money. This means the national government is having
to get creative with its funding mechanisms and coming up with more funds than it anticipated
to jump-start each construction project. Compare this to the way the Chinese operate. As an authoritarian country, a single political
party controls the entire government, allowing it to push projects through and spend money
as it pleases, sometimes in a brutally efficient way. The government of India, the world’s largest
democracy, can’t operate like that. But while China, India’s continental rival,
may have leapt ahead in its rate of completion of a mega-network of highways, it has yet
to face the inevitable reckoning of a messy transition to democracy. With a people who are much freer, on this
front, the Indians are miles ahead of the Chinese. Now, they just need to build themselves enough
open road so their economy can hit top speed. Having recently completed both the world’s
most extensive system of expressways and the planet’s longest high speed rail network,
China is now looking beyond its borders for opportunities to keep building. President Xi Jinping announced at a recent
summit that Beijing has sealed megaproject deals with 65 countries throughout Eurasia
and Africa to construct ports, power stations, rail lines, roads, and all the tunnels and
bridges needed to connect them back to mainland China. At a total cost of over $1 trillion, the One
Belt, One Road initiative is unprecedented in size and scope. So is the bold funding mechanism: China will
use its large, state-run banks to provide most of the financing, a risky move, when
you consider how few of the nations in the O.B.O.R. could afford something like this
on their own. “Oh,” say the leaders of economically-challenged,
underdeveloped Laos, Yemen, or Ethiopia — or the blood-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad
in war-ravaged Syria — “you want to loan us billions of dollars to build some cool
stuff in our countries? Of course, why not!?” China is hard-selling the project as a way
to boost its westward connections, an update of the silk road trade route that played a
significant role in developing China and the rest of the region 1,000 years ago. But many analysts see this comparison as little
more than a marketing pitch. Al Jazeera clip: “Is the real point of this,
East-West service then simply to boost China’s westward connections? [Pauline Loong] “Well I wouldn’t say simply
to boost China’s westward connections, but I totally agree with Charles that it’s more
a PR stunt. To call it the “Silk Road,” that’s really
brilliant—evocative of romantic camel travels in the past. When, you know, you have these lovely silks
and trade and so forth. And it’s good, because look at all the headlines
it has been getting, but in practical terms, it’s early days yet.” [Bryce] Aside from the lessons China learned
from its own recent infrastructure boom, Beijing is also drawing inspiration from the American
Marshall Plan which financed the rebuilding of Western Europe after it was decimated during
the second world war. That program was worth the equivalent of $130
billion in today’s dollars and ensured the US had reliable export markets for the manufactured
goods and machinery its growing economy had become dependent on producing. China’s modern version — first announced
in 2013 — is the signature initiative of President Xi Jinping. Several projects have already been completed. Earlier this year London became the 15th European
city connected directly to China through an ever-expanding global rail system, meaning
freight trains loaded with goods can now arrive after a 12,000km journey all the way from
the east coast of the landmass. And, at a cost of $4 billion, China also just
completed Africa’s first transnational electric railway, which runs 466 miles from Djibouti
to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Chinese companies designed the system, built
the line, and supplied the train cars. The many other projects under the O.B.O.R.
umbrella include: A $6 billion, 260-mile railway connecting
eight Asian countries. Desperately needed power plants to address
Pakistan’s chronic electricity shortage, part of a larger $46 billion investment by
China in Pakistan aimed at offsetting the American and Japanese-backed building boom
happening in neighboring India, China and Pakistan’s mutual rival. Train lines will connect Budapest to Belgrade,
Serbia, providing another artery for Chinese goods to reach Europe after arriving in a
Chinese-owned port in Greece. And — in a move that adds prestige to O.B.O.R. — China is financing more than a third of
the $23.7 billion cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in southwest England. Part of the challenge in analyzing whether
this building boom is ultimately good for the world is its sheer complexity. Nothing like this has ever been done before
in human history. Yes, providing underdeveloped countries a
chance to have better transportation infrastructure, or cleaner power plants is a good thing. But, by funding infrastructure that’s designed
to enhance commerce and trade — instead of basic services many of these countries
need more, like clean drinking water, affordable housing, and better education — China’s
motives seem to favor the wealthy, elite business class. Here are other factors that explain why China
is undertaking a project of this magnitude: The Communist Party has staked its reputation
on non-stop economic growth. Since they hold all the power, the Chinese
people expect them to deliver. But with its domestic megaproject boom nearing
completion, China must find new buyers for all the steel, cement, and construction machinery
its economy produces, or many of its factories could grind to a halt. It has decided the solution is One Belt, One
Road, but lending hundreds of billions of dollars to many countries with weak credit
ratings and unstable political systems is very risky. Which reveals an underlying sense you get
when you look closely at One Belt One Road: China’s increasing desperation. The country’s national debt is already very
high, but borrowing continues to accelerate at historic levels as state owned banks loan
more and more money to state owned companies. The prime example of the risks associated
with the tight rope the Communist Party is trying to walk was the government bailouts
issued during China’s recent stock market collapse. That crisis was caused by the same sense of
impatience that’s driving O.B.O.R.—the Party’s need to feed the insatiable economic
growth monster. Using its powerful propaganda machine, Beijing
urged its own people to invest their savings heavily in its immature, unstable market—causing
inexperienced citizens to treat investments in companies like bets at a casino, creating
a huge bubble that, naturally, burst. The government then suspended trading for
a while and pumped billions into the system to avoid a total collapse. So really, when you step back, the core motivation
for One Belt, One Road boils down to the Communist Party’s need to buy itself more time in
order to come up with its next scheme to prop up the economy, because when it inevitably
slows down, which it’s already starting to do, the Party’s promise to deliver a
fantastic economic dream world will have been proven false for everyone in China but the
elites. The silver lining is that many of the ventures
China has undertaken will pay long-term dividends, like building up its high-tech manufacturing
sector, with the anticipation that when OBOR’s transportation networks are complete, it will
be ready to use them to deliver higher-cost goods like iPhones, drones, and green energy
technologies to the rest of the world. The other major motivating factor here is
the unmistakable opportunity to gain even-power status with the United States in Asia. The election of Donald Trump, and then his
decision to walk away from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal that would have hurt
China, are massive geopolitical mistakes—completely unforced errors that China intends to take
full advantage of. When it first announced the O.B.O.R. back
in 2013, Barack Obama had just begun his second term and the US pivot to Asia was in full
force. With rivals like Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam
challenging China’s efforts to control maritime trade routes, it was clear China was being
hemmed in on its Eastern flank. Despite the election of Trump, this is still
true. So by instead turning instead to the vast
land mass to the west for new opportunities, China minimizes its reliance on maritime trade
routes that could be cut off in the event of a destabilizing military conflict. At the end of the day, China is all about
business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a democracy,
a dictatorship, or a failed state, China wants to work with you. But this willingness to embrace some of the
world’s more unsavory characters could backfire. Just look who Xi is sitting next to at the
O.B.O.R. summit: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan—two men who look
more and more like dictators clinging to power with each passing day. That’s not a good look for China, and it
reminds us that the Communist Party is even less transparent. But in a world where the President of the
United States is a bumbling fool, these partnerships create much less of an image problem now than
they would have just a few months ago, when the widely admired Barack Obama was leading
the free world. If you ask the Chinese, the O.B.O.R. is all
about peace, an embrace of the concept of coop-etition. A generation ago it was unthinkable for a
country to invest billions of dollars on infrastructure in another country, but in our hyper-globalized
world, dominated by interconnected markets, it may become the norm, especially when we
consider the intangible benefits—greater economic interdependence lowers the risk that
groups of countries will want to fight with other groups of countries, many of whom are
bound together by military alliances. Every one of these projects increases China’s
soft power, giving Beijing more and more leverage in any future negotiation or military conflict. The many foreign seaports it will build and
manage for the next half century will be particularly valuable chess pieces. Its understandable that Chinese policymakers
are romanticizing One Belt, One Road as a crowning achievement for their nation—further
recognition that it has regained its former status as a great civilization that deserves
recognition around the world. But the reality is that it still has a long
way to go. Combined, the following factors may weaken
the optimistic sales pitches being made to foreign officials: a recent Oxford business
school study argued that half of Chinese domestic megaprojects actually destroyed, not generated
economic value; a few of China’s previous efforts to build megaprojects in foreign countries
— like the A2 motorway in Poland — failed miserably; landowners and their representatives
in the national assemblies of host countries are pushing back hard against attempts to
take away their land; and public demonstrations against some the projects are beginning to
take root, and spread. Another dose of reality that should sober
Beijing is that— after analyzing China’s overleveraged financial position — its credit
rating was just downgraded by a major agency, whose analysts concluded that its borrowing
is raising red flags, and its economic growth will continue to slow down. Of course, none of these speed bumps is going
to stop the Communist Party from attempting to execute their great leap. They are committed 100% to embracing a fundamental
history lesson — one we were all reminded of by Brexit’s improbable win and the unlikely
ascendence of Donald Trump — that fortune favors the bold—at least, in the short run. Thanks for watching. Get caught up on all of China’s major domestic
megaprojects with the mini-documentary I made last year, which started some interesting
conversations. To learn even more, and to support our work,
sign up for a free 30-trial of Audible.com — linked below — and you’ll get one
free audio download, like the great courses on The Fall and Rise of China. Until next time, for TDC, I’m Bryce Plank.

100 thoughts on “The World’s Future MEGAPROJECTS: 2019-2040’s (Season 2 – Complete)”

  1. 0:00 Istanbul's building boom (Turkey)
    4:05 The mission to put a human on Mars (Nasa)
    8:37 The effort to develop Lagos (Nigeria)
    15:42 Africa's clean energy opportunity
    21:11 Breakthrough Starshot (First Mission to the Stars)
    25:56 Mercerdes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (USA)
    30:00 India's Highway Super-system
    35:02 China's New Silk Road (One Belt, One Road)

  2. The opposite of a climate denier is a God denier. I am the former. God created and manages this world, we are the created, not the creators. Beliving we can add or decrease one degree from the GLOBAL climate is not only foolhardy, it is arrogant, and mocks God.

  3. This video can only for entertainment. A lot of bias using European/US values in assessing China's effort to develop Asian/African countries in OBOR so that they can have the economic means to live a standard of living comparable to developed countries. The fundamental rights of a human being is food, clean water/air , good job & stable family / societal relationships.

  4. I enjoy your videos, however you should really find a way to suppress your clear hatred for Trump. It's very unprofessional.

  5. How can you still think Trump is a "fool"? Get Lee Camp or Jessey Ventura or someone like them to run against Trump and I will vote against him,… The reason I don't support Trump is his lack of support for Julian Assange, who made it possible for him to get elected… Our military policy has NOT CHANGED… Been the same under the last four presidents… Obviously, the president does not run this country… Voters never did either… Colluding with Russia is nonsense… Yet intellectuals kept saying it was so, and he will be arrested and impeached… Trump University is something he actually did and is guilty of… The FOOLS are the ones who never mentioned anything about it for two years, but kept promoting the Muller Report – now they all look like FOOLS and only succeeded at empowering Trump even MORE!!

  6. This vid tries to tell you that Obama>Trump lol.I think you should really focus on the megaprojects topic rather than tackling your point of view in politics.

  7. The only thing is, is that you listed off nuclear power as one of the dirty energy sources even though it does not emit carbon dioxide and is much more effective and reliable than any other clean energy source.

  8. The future of energy is nuclear fusion and thorium mini reactors. Every government knows it and the best part is you don’t need weapons grade nuclear material to operate them.

  9. Completely devoid of any understanding of global oligarchy, but rife with criticisms of misunderstood regimes. Celebrating the corrupt, and condemning the righteous. At least some of us can think for ourselves.

    The interpretations of intentions in this video are mostly idiotic. China is building infrastructure so countries can build the local economies and develop further infrastructure. US and other regimes of the past did what? They bombed the crap out of countries and then charged them for the weapons and the reconstruction. You decide what's worse.

    Want to be an interpretive voice, be fair, broadminded, and honest. The issue is, the world is completely different than the video portrays, so the premises and conclusions are flawed. What is assessed as failed, are failing because of opposition from the old oligarchy. What succeeds and why new projects are proposed, is to defeat the old oligarchy, and to establish a more just world. This is not just an infrastructure problem, this is also a political and economic reconstruction problem, and this is literally a war, old vs new, bad vs good.

  10. Looking back at the moves the "bumbling fool" made, I thank God he is in charge and not you. History has now proven Trump right and you wrong. Lol!

  11. europe could give a minimum food to african familly's worker that accept to build the grid. for a %OFF on energy when the full system will be effective.
    in other words: cheap labor who already need jobs and maximum green profit by 2050. as the africa would then be able to produce 3700 time more KW than what they need and europe would benifit from that starting agreement to reduce their energy cost and CO2emission.

  12. Solid presentation. Propagandists and armchair pundits in the comments who are freaked out by facts should find themselves an exit.

  13. Great video, but this “if we all united we could do amazing sweetie” isn’t cutting, there’s reason why competition on psychological level motivates nations and individuals. First man in Space and Moon landing happened because they were products of harsh competition between nations.

  14. for some reason i feel bad to be an american, i have everything i ever needed, never had to struggle for work, and i find myself addicted to the internet.

  15. That moment you remember that the fastest thing humans have created was a man hole cover and we did that by accident……
    we have a long way to go before we reach 20% the speed of light lol

  16. Incredible video ! . . . I'm eager to see what humanity is capable of when collaborating at a global scale.
    While I'm looking forward to work on promoting/developing cities&settlements on similar lines (incl' as SmartCities), hence this I find encouraging.
    I had only inklings of several of these projects so thank you for detailing each and every one so thoroughly! Hopefully these will all be successful and encourage further multinational and international cooperation.
    lets share more in such City-Development-Collaborations, pl' don't hesitate to communicate at my e'm: [email protected]
    President – WMPEVS-Solapur – www.padmashaliengineers.in

  17. Nuclear is still the best in regards of energy production. Solar and wind is a joke. Just do a simple cost analysis and you can see for yourself.

  18. aaaand it took 43:00 minutes to get to the propaganda. Nice job, just couldnt keep western ideological bias out of it huh…. When USA gets democracy then we can judge china for not doing the same, till then, just doint pretend like Russia, China, Turkey, are somehow worse than 'democratic' nations….

  19. kind of sick with this western narrative. every national leader is somehow "deeply corrupt".. just the british bloody colonial rule is totaly non corrupt and blessing for people 😀

  20. africa can't help themselves.. they wait for white countries to help them, its no coincidence that the only thriving place is the white part of africa.. south africa

  21. Philippines is Spending 160 Billion USD to upgrade its infrastruture also such as subways (4 billion usd), bridges, roads, new manila airport (15 billion usd), new capital named clark city (5 billion usd) and many other projects shocked its not on the list as it was announced back in 2016

  22. this is great movie but stop being propaganda media and branding syria as ''regime'' and china as bad… so what if they stay communist!? get real people

  23. Love the vid, but kinda made me mad when you said nuclear power wasn’t green. Nuclear power is completely carbon neutral and the most effective and efficient form of clean energy, and the stigma that it’s not “green” could, in my opinion, cause progress against climate change to stagnate.

  24. imagine clean air from stopping non renewable energy and things like electric cars and no more light polluting lights,clean air and all the stars in the night sky will be visible

  25. This video started off so well, then went political and toxic. Fragile American ego has to bash, BS and Try to condition the free mind with propaganda.

  26. I enjoyed the video but had to scoff a bit at all the stuff about China Debt.
    China is lending against future returns and obtaining Naval Base rights, plus other benefits, in return for providing cheap credit to Belt and Road countries.
    However, look at the USA . It has a huge amount of debt. mainly to finance its enormous military expenditure and past spending.
    China and others are sitting on a lot of that debt.
    I would say that the USA is in a much more precarious situation, with regard to debt than China.
    Yes, you are right to point out the China debt but it has to be seen in relation to the USA position, which is not based so much upon an investment for the future but on needing to maintain the dollar as the worlds reserve currency, to finance a debt which is more about the past plus a grossly bloated military budget.
    Of course, neither China nor anyone else is going to dump its US Treasury Bonds any time soon.
    However, when the USA makes military threats, it sometimes overlooks the fact that China and others are effectively financing the USA military which is making the threats.
    An interconnected world indeed but thanks for your videos.
    They give a sense of just how untenable current Western Environmental Policy is, in my opinion.
    The rest of the world is developing and is not going to abandon that in order to comply with any half baked notions of 'the noble savage' or the 'pristine rain forest' or environmental policy which is based upon such unconscious neo-colonial ideas nor the wise opinions of Madonna, Ronaldo or our very own (UK)David Attenborough or even Prince Charles (a champion of organic food but also of 'homeopathic medicine') .
    I believe in 'saving the world' along with the next person but your videos demonstrate how our relationship with the 'environment' is a dialectical one and always has been, ever since the current period of Global Warming ended the last Ice Age and we began to grow food, instead of gathering it and domesticate animals, rather than hunting them.
    We in the 'West' need people like yourself to awaken us from our cosy, mainly middle class, 'green' dreaming of assuming that we can deprive others of the development which we are enjoying, in order to 'save' a planet which is mainly a figment of our cultural imagination.
    Well, that is my current opinion anyway and I am Not a Trump supporter nor a 'Climate Change Denier', whatever that may mean.
    I am very concerned about the 'environment' but I think that our Western Model of what 'environmentalism' is, has become deeply flawed and the recent hysteria concerning the Amazon Basin Fires illustrates a mismatch between what we think the 'world' needs and what those needs really are.
    Thanks and keep up the good work !

  27. Nuclear energy is actually cleaner, safer, cheaper, and more reliable than solar or wind. Ultimately much better for the environment.

  28. Maybe the next time you concentrate on providing facts instead of amateurishly trying to sneak in your naive pro-western mindset, buddy. Your dislikes will decrease significantly. But it doesn't matter to you, right? As long as you get your funding from the government.

  29. In india that hughway has wires cz it passes around a forest so that any lion or tiger doesn't come on road its for that and its not for rich its for common man thousand of public buses go to n fro daily. Do your research not just speack all hats no cattle.

  30. wish humans were clever enough and would gather all this money to help the poor no child would ever be hungry again … there are so many problems on this planet and they are spending unimaginable amounts of money on having a good time on mars. one minute's silence!

  31. China hates us. They are the enemy this is what they teach their kids. So younger people know this and do your duty in the US military. I think it should be mandatory to do at least 3 years. And if it for you go longer. You'll be set for life if you do it long enough. Plus the Chinese don't have freedoms that America has. Few if any do. That alone is worth fighting for. God Bless America

  32. I really appreciated the facts that were presented by this video. However, I would really have liked to see some more objectivity with respect to the apparent political views. I come for the facts, not the opinions. But all-in-all, a great video. Thanks for the upload.

  33. Turned from megaprojects to a political hack piece. Unfortunate. It had some decent production value. Skip this video

  34. Other countries: nation developement! Science!

    USA: sports!

    …. gee wonder why the usa is having issues.
    Also, a stadium shouldnt be on here!

  35. Gets a Trump slam in at the end. If you don't believe as we do, you are a denier. Many pushing the propaganda don't believe themselves but do line their pockets.

  36. this is why American sports are broken, the public pays 550 million for the stadium yet the public doesn't own anything about it some rich asswipe gets the benefits while the public the split the 550m bill get what jobs? big deal jobs would be created where ever the stadium was let the rich asswipes front the bill.

  37. I'm so tired of Mars. We know enough about it. I wish NASA stopped wasting time with talk of manned exploration of it. It's totally unnecessary. Just continue building better and better robotics. We don't need to put men there any more. It's a stupidly pointless risk and a gigantic waste of money. I'm even tired of sending robots to Mars, but that's fine if it continues. I just wish we focus more on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. THAT is where actual interesting surface and sub-surface chemistry is occurring and bacterial life may exist.

  38. the left side view is nice to think about but its a bit overrated but that's alright this was still informative and interesting

  39. i have faith in SpaceX There Leading the tech 👍🥇ships even look future built unlike nasa still old tech😳🤷‍♂️

  40. I stopped watching when the narrator said unstoppable rising sea level. The sea level expert that was leading the IPCC group on sea level rise resigned in disgust because the IPCC did not take his advice. IPCC sea level calculations were formulated by people with no experience in sea level dynamics.

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