Engineering Earth pp 1223-1242 | Cite as

An Uncomfortable Fit? Transfrontier Parks as MegaProjects

  • Elizabeth Lunstrum


The latest type of megaproject reshaping sub-Saharan African landscapes is transfrontier parks (TFPs); these are parks that span or meet one another at (mostly) unfenced international borders, providing large expanses for wildlife and tourist consumption. TFPs, however, have not been approached or analyzed as megaprojects in either the conservation or megaproject literature, a gap this paper attempts to fill by arguing for treating large scale conservation projects and TFPs in particular as megaprojects. In the first part of the paper, I take up the relatively straightforward grounds on which TFPs fulfill the defining criteria of megaprojects, ranging from their impressive size to their public character and ability to attract and generate private investment. Yet on other grounds, TFPs appear as fundamentally different from, if not deeply at odds with, megaprojects. I illustrate that even and especially on these registers, TFPs merit entry into the realm of megaprojects. But they do so in ways that are masked by assumptions that megaprojects are necessarily environmentally harmful and by more problematic notions that protected areas, especially (trans)national wildlife parks, are “pristine,” a-modern spaces of “wilderness.”


National Park Conservation Area Private Investment International Border Southern African Development Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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