Boston vs. Berlin - where to do better construction site spotting?
Big-ticket infrastructure and construction projects are not only big on corruption risks, but also potentially big on public spectacle, when unfolding in the middle of cities. Why not combine these two features? Make it easy for thousands of passer-bys to take a look at what is going on, marvel about the prowess of engineering (and the often overlooked tangibles that tax money actually buys) and at the same time add what we could literally call an extra layer of citizen in- and oversight.
As I have noted in several previous posts, the range of possible ambient interventions to make this possible is immense - from the simple peephole in the construction fence to elaborate viewing platforms. Here a few more example both from my hometown Berlin and my current host town Boston. Which one does the better job in enabling construction site stalking? First up peepholes in Boston at the building site of a huge new pharmaceutical research center:
And here the Berlin entry: peepholes for a subway extension project project.
Both try to make the viewing rather entertaining and provide contextual information. A tie. Boston 1 - Berlin 1.
Next up: viewing platforms: here a big new Condo development project at Boston’s waterfront.
And for Berlin another large subway project and the related viewing platform.
The clear winner in this category: Berlin, providing loads of accountability information on timelines, budgets etc. and above all making it fun to watch. There was actually at some point a queue to get up on the little watchtower.
So Berlin 2 - Boston 1 it is in this wholly unscientific, anecdotal competition. And still so much to improve on: where are the feedback interfaces, where is the sincere reporting on experienced cost overruns and time delays..?
(all pictures cc Dieter Zinnbauer)