Title

Building a major transport infrastructure in Hong Kong in the historical context of the 1997 retrocession

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to look into the fate of a troubled initiative in one of Hong Kong's economic engines – the container handling industry – that was developed in the midst of the discussions between Beijing and London leading towards the historical 1997 handover. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a qualitative in‐depth analysis of a longitudinal case study, the impact of the historical context is shown. Findings – The data suggest that the forecasting gaps are residual of prolonged decision‐making processes featuring a diversity of stakeholders pursuing their respective agendas and making the best of the opportunities presented by powerful contextual events such as the historical 1997 restoration. Research limitations/implications – A few aspects of the forecasting process make a difference in the likelihood that the traffic forecasts will prove more accurate: improving the interconnectedness of the forecasting tasks; eliminating the problem of assumption drag; and developing knowledge in sociopolitical forecasting. Originality/value – The value of this longitudinal case study lies in showing that major transport infrastructure forecasts are neither a deceptive nor meaningless series of projections to cool down potential opposition, as argued by the proponents of the political approach. Building a major transport infrastructure takes place through a nest of multifarious and unpredictable processes, intertwined with patterns of other strategic decisions and actions undertaken either by the public or by the private organizations involved, and influenced by major contingencies and historical contextual events over time.

Document Type

Journal Article

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