Megaprojects & the Role of the Public: Germany’s Embattled ‘Stuttgart 21’ Rail Project Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


In February 2010, Germany’s railway broke on a job that had been under discussion for more than 20 years-the Stuttgart section of the European Magistrate, a 930-mile cross-Europe high-speed rail line that would one day extend from Paris through Munich and Vienna to Budapest and Bratislava. The German national railroad track, at long last, the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, and the city of Stuttgart made an agreement on the station and routing design of the megaproject. Yet within the year, the greatest citizen protests Germany had found since the reunification of the nation would be sparked by the job.

The Stuttgart 21 adversaries were different, and so were their concerns, but nearly all were unified by one overriding contention: that the plan had been conceived by political elites without public input and had later refused to take citizen objections seriously. The case provides basic background and context for this controversy, then describes four types of public participation that took place in the course of creating the project: (1) a city-sponsored open-involvement process in 1997 letting citizens to weigh in on the neighborhood redevelopment parts of the job; (2) a petition drive by opponents to hold a city referendum on the job, after followed by mass protests; (3) a state-sponsored mediation process between supporters and opponents of the undertaking; and (4) a state election followed by a state referendum on the endeavor.

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Megaprojects & the Role of the Public: Germany’s Embattled ‘Stuttgart 21’ Rail Project